Shohei Ohtani punctuates Dodgers sweep of Braves with 2 home runs to tie MLB lead

The Los Angeles Dodgers emphatically struck first in an early-season matchup of NL favorites.

Sparked by two home runs from Shohei Ohtani, the Dodgers beat the Atlanta Braves 5-1 on Sunday. The win completed a three-game sweep in the first matchup of the season between the NL's top contenders.

Los Angeles secured Friday's series opener with a 4-3 win in 11 innings, then rolled over Atlanta with an 11-2 victory on Saturday.

On Sunday, Ohtani got the scoring started with a two-run home run off Braves ace Max Fried in the first inning.

He then capped the scoring with a solo shot in the ninth to secure the 5-1 win.

Dodgers starter James Paxton stifled the Braves and picked up the win while allowing one earned run on five hits and two walks with three strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings.

With the victory, the Dodgers improved to 23-13 and pushed their lead in the NL West to five games over the second-place San Diego Padres. With the sweep, the Braves fell to 20-12 and two games behind the first-place Philadelphia Phillies in the NL East.

Sunday's win capped a sensational series from Ohtani, who tallied three home runs and kept the Dodgers in Friday's extra-innings win with a 10th-inning RBI single.

Ohtani finished Sunday's game 4-for-4 at the plate with two home runs, three RBI and two runs scored. The Dodgers tagged Fried with four earned runs in seven innings to hand him his first loss in seven starts this season. Fried is now 2-1 with a 4.23 ERA.

Ohtani hit one of five Dodgers home runs on Saturday as Los Angeles roughed up Braves All-Star Bryce Elder for seven earned runs on seven hits, three home runs and four walks in 3 1/3 innings. Max Muncy tallied three home runs in the 11-2 win.

Shohei Ohtani improved on his torrid start with a sensational series vs. the Braves. (Harry How/Getty Images)
Shohei Ohtani improved on his torrid start with a sensational series vs. the Braves. (Harry How/Getty Images)

For the series, Ohtani went 8-for-12 at the plate with three home runs, six RBI, five runs scored, three walks and two stolen bases. Through 35 games in his first season with the Dodgers, Ohtani is slashing .364/.426/.685 with 10 home runs, 25 RBI and seven stolen bases. His batting average, slugging percentage and home run tally were all first or tied for first in MLB at the end of Sunday's game.

The Braves won't get another shot at the Dodgers until a four-game series scheduled to start Sept. 13, which could have significant playoff implications in the stretch run of the regular season.