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Early offense holds up for Dodgers

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MLB: Miami Marlins at Los Angeles Dodgers Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers offense broke out early, and that was enough to take the first game of a four-game set against the Marlins, 7-2 on Thursday night at Dodger Stadium.

Yasiel Puig broke a 1-1 tie in the second inning with a monstrous, two-run home run to left center field in the second inning against Edinson Volquez.

The Dodgers scored in each of the first three innings against Volquez, then nearly scored in the fourth with the bases loaded and one out. But a double play ended the rally, the third time in four innings the Dodgers hit into a twin killing.

Chase Utley was 2-for-2 with a walk, a stolen base, a run scored, and two RBI from the leadoff spot, and in his last 20 games is hitting .326/.429/.478.

Utley scored in the first inning on a hard ground out by Cody Bellinger. That gave the rookie 21 RBI in his first 22 career games, the first Dodgers player to do that, dating back to at least 1913.

Justin Turner was 2-for-3 with a walk, a run scored, and a stolen base, but left in the seventh inning with an apparent right hamstring injury. More news is expected on his injury after the game.

Ryu’s busy night

After a pair of harmless ground balls and a strikeout in the first inning, the Marlins started to tee off on Hyun-jin Ryu in the second. Three straight extra-base hits in the frame — a double by Giancarlo Stanton, a home run by Justin Bour, and a double by J.T. Realmuto — produced only one run, thanks in part to Stanton getting thrown out at third base trying to advance on a pitch that got away.

More hard-hit balls followed in the third inning, including a home run by Christian Yelich, but Ryu again limited the damage to just one run thanks to the drive by Marcell Ozuna dying at the right field wall and falling into the waiting glove of Puig.

But Ryu got into the act himself, doubling at the plate in the second inning, the first extra-base hit by a Dodgers pitcher in 2017. Ryu scored on a single by Utley.

With the offensive support, Ryu had some cushion to work with and he was able to settle down and pitch into the sixth without any further damage. Ryu even helped himself with a great leaping grab of a chopper by Dee Gordon to throw him out at first base. That play drew a nice reaction from the Dodgers dugout.

The only inkling of danger after the third inning for Ryu was when he was hit by a pitch on his right arm while trying to bunt in the fourth inning. After a few minutes meeting with team trainers, Ryu stayed in the game.

Ryu allowed a pair of one-out singles in the sixth inning, the last one a hard grounder by Bour that ricocheted off Ryu. That’s when manager Dave Roberts took Ryu out of the game after a brief mound visit by both Roberts and trainer Nate Lucero.

With the hit by pitch and the grounder of Ryu’s leg, Thursday provided plenty of opportunities should Ryu require another upcoming trip on the 10-day disabled list, though Roberts after the game said the comebacker only grazed Ryu, and that he didn’t think a DL stint was needed.

What a relief

Chris Hatcher relieved Ryu and struck out two to wiggle out of the sixth-inning jam. Luis Avilan followed by striking out all three batters he faced in the seventh. Josh Fields add a strikeout for one of his two outs in the eighth inning, then Kenley Jansen entered with two runs on and the tying run at the plate.

Jansen recorded the final four outs, all by strikeout, for his eighth save of the season, giving Dodgers relievers 10 strikeouts in 11 outs recorded on Thursday night.

Jansen on the season has 32 strikeouts and no walks in 16 innings, and 60 batters faced.

Switch it up

Jansen got to bat in the bottom of the eighth inning, and singled off Bour’s glove for his first hit since Aug. 31, 2010. The switch-hitting Jansen in his career is 2-for-4 with a walk batting left-handed, and 0-for-1 batting right-handed.

Thursday particulars

Home runs: Yasiel Puig (8); Justin Bour (9), Christian Yelich (6)

WP - Hyun-jin Ryu (2-5): 5⅓ IP, 7 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

LP - Edinson Volquez (0-6): 6 IP, 8 hits, 5 runs, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts

Sv - Kenley Jansen (8): 1⅓, 4 strikeouts