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Nationals spoil Hyun-jin Ryu’s longest outing of the year

Washington Nationals v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES -- Hyun-jin Ryu pitched his longest outing of the season for the Dodgers, but suffered defeat thanks to a pair of timely two-out hits in the Nationals’ 4-2 victory on Monday night at Dodger Stadium.

Ryu, who allowed one run in 10 innings in his previous two outings, including one save, pitched seven innings on Monday for the first time in 2017.

“Hyun-jin is very much looking forward to this start. This is a very good offensive ball club. If you execute, you give yourself a chance. It’s a good test,” manager Dave Roberts said before the game. “He’s done a lot of good things for us, and I think he’s hitting his stride right now.”

Ryu struck out four and walked none in his seven innings, though Anthony Rendon got him for a pair of extra-base hits. A solo home run in the second inning opened the scoring for the Nationals, and a double in the fourth inning nearly drove in another. The Dodgers appeared to get a lucky bounce when Rendon’s double bounced over the fence, keeping Daniel Murphy at third base with two outs, but that good fortune was not cashed in when Matt Wieters followed with a ground ball single up the middle to bring home both runs from scoring position.

That 3-0 Dodgers deficit turned into 4-0 one inning later when Bryce Harper hit a two-out RBI single against Ryu in the fifth.

For Ryu, seven innings marked his longest start since Aug. 31, 2014.

“He came out with a lot of conviction. There were some 93s and 94s. The change was good, and the cutter was good,” Roberts said. “Just to see him come out with a purpose and focus was really encouraging.”

That deficit looked insurmountable against Gio Gonzalez, who allowed just three runners to reach base in his first five innings. The Dodgers got to him in the sixth inning with a walk from Logan Forsythe, a single by Corey Seager and an RBI-double by Chris Taylor to open the frame, but the club could only cut the Nationals’ lead in half, leaving one of the runners stranded in scoring position.

Seager led off the eighth with a double against southpaw Enny Romero, but he recovered with two strikeouts and a ground out to keep the score at 4-2. Romero struck out four in two scoreless innings of relief.

Yet another double, this one in the ninth by Cody Bellinger with two outs against Matt Albers, brought the tying run to the plate in the form of Yasmani Grandal, who was turned around to bat right-handed against southpaw Oliver Perez.

Perez caught him looking to end the game.

Up next

It doesn’t get any easier for the Dodgers on Tuesday, having to face Max Scherzer in the middle game of the series. Brandon McCarthy is on the mound for the Dodgers in the 7:10 p.m. PT start.

For his efforts, Ryu has earned another start, Roberts said. But as for when that start will be hasn’t yet been determined.

Monday particulars

Home run: Anthony Rendon (11)

WP - Gio Gonzalez (5-1): 6 IP, 4 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts

LP - Hyun-jin Ryu (2-6): 7 IP, 7 hits, 4 runs, 4 strikeouts

Sv - Oliver Perez (1): ⅓ IP, 1 strikeout