Hyun-jin Ryu continued to live up to his advance billing on Saturday, coming through both on the mound and at the plate to lead the Dodgers to a 7-5 win over the Diamondbacks at Chase Field in Phoenix.
Ryu, in his first major league road game, struck out a career high nine and pitched into the seventh inning for his third straight start. Ryu walked only one, and allowed three runs on six hits, though two of the runs charged to his ledger scored after he departed.
Through three major league starts, Ryu has a 2.89 ERA, 20 strikeouts and just three walks. But even more impressive on Saturday night was his work at the plate.
With his parents in attendance, Ryu doubled to right field with one out in the third inning for his first major league hit. The red-hot Carl Crawford followed with a sharp single to right field, but it was hit too hard for Ryu to score from second base. Skip Schumaker followed by lining out to right field, but it wasn't deep enough to get Ryu home.
Ryu ended up stranded at third, and the Dodgers at that point had 13 hits in 85 at-bats on the season with runners in scoring position, a league worst .153 batting average, but six of those hits didn't even bring home a run. After 12 innings in Phoenix without a run, one might wonder just how these Dodgers might score.
Turns out, it was easy as 1-2-3.
The Dodgers scored one in the fourth inning, when Adrian Gonzalez put himself in scoring position with his second home run of the season, tying him with Juan Uribe for the team lead.
In the fifth inning, Ryu struck again with a leadoff single and was erased on a force play on a groundout by Crawford, which turned out to be a nice trade. Crawford scored easily from first on a double by Skip Schumaker, then Schumaker scored on a single by Andre Ethier to complete a two-run fifth inning.
The Dodgers rallied for three runs in the sixth, all started with a two-out single by Ryu. Matt Kemp singled in two runs with the bases loaded and Gonzalez drove home the third run of the inning with a single.
Ryu might have had a chance at a fourth hit, something not done by a Dodgers pitcher since Claude Osteen in 1970, but as he was batting in the seventh inning Justin Sellers was picked off first base by catcher Miguel Montero. Ryu had to settle for being the first Dodgers pitcher with three hits in a game since Randy Wolf on Aug. 16, 2009, in Arizona. Ryu was the first Dodgers pitcher to go 3-for-3 since Carlos Perez way back in 1999.
Not bad for someone who hadn't picked up a bat since high school in 2005 before spring training this year.
The Dodgers held a 6-1 lead at one point but Arizona rallied for two runs in the seventh and two more in the eighth to pull within 6-5. Arizona brought in Heath Bell to pitch the ninth inning, and catcher Ramon Hernandez, making his first start as a Dodger, picked up an RBI double for an insurance run.
Brandon League, who threw 34 pitches in his last outing, recorded the final three outs in order for his fourth save.
- The win snapped a six-game losing streak for the Dodgers at Chase Field, their longest losing streak in Phoenix.
- Crawford went 2-for-5 and his average went down, to .410. Crawford is hitting .410/.465/.615, and has scored 11 runs in 11 games.
- Gonzalez had three hits and a walk, and has driven in 10 runs in 11 games to lead the team. Kemp is second with four RBI.
The Dodgers go for the series in on Sunday with Josh Beckett on the mound in the finale, facing off against Trevor Cahill.
Home runs: Adrian Gonzalez (2); Martin Prado (2)
WP - Hyun-jin Ryu (2-1): 6+ IP, 6 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk, 9 strikeouts
LP - Ian Kennedy (1-1): 5⅔ IP, 10 hits, 6 runs, 4 walks, 4 strikeouts
Sv - Brandon League (4): 3 up, 3 down