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Hyun-jin Ryu strikes out 9 in Dodgers’ win over Padres

Los Angeles Dodgers v San Diego Padres Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

SAN DIEGO — Hyun-jin Ryu looked like his old self in six strong innings, and Matt Kemp and Yasmani Grandal homered to pace the Dodgers offense in a 10-3 win over the Padres in the opener of a three-game set on Monday night at Petco Park.

Ryu had San Diego hitters off balance for the bulk of his night, with strikeouts coming on his fastball, curve and changeup. There were nine strikeouts in all, and no walks in the left-hander’s six innings.

“The change, the breaking ball, the fastball command, the cutter was really good,” manager Dave Roberts said. “It was good to see him give us those six innings.”

Ryu struck out eight batters last Tuesday against Oakland as well, giving him eight or more strikeouts in consecutive starts for the first time since April 25-30, 2013, his first month in the majors.

Hyun-jin Ryu high strikeout games

Date Opp Strikeouts
Date Opp Strikeouts
4/30/13 Col 12
7/13/14 SD 10
4/16/18 at SD 9
4/13/13 at Ari 9
7/27/13 Cin 9
5/21/14 at NYM 9
9/6/14 Ari 9
4/30/17 Phi 9
Source: Baseball-Reference

Monday night was the eighth career game for Ryu with nine or more strikeouts, and just his second after shoulder and elbow surgeries wiped away nearly two full seasons.

“I was really happy with my outing tonight,” Ryu said. “Those couple of years were tough.”

After five walks in 3⅔ innings in his first start this season, Ryu has 17 strikeouts against only one walk his last two times out.

Kemp’s renaissance continued with a single that led to a run in the second inning, then a home run that broke the game open in the third. Kemp’s blast was the Dodgers’ first three-run home run of the season.

He made his two at-bats count, going 2-for-2 before getting pinch hit for in the fifth inning after the Padres brought in right-handed pitcher Adam Cimber. Kemp has four multi-hit games in his last six starts.

The Dodgers tattooed Robbie Erlin in the third, plating five runs before recording an out. The first two plays of the inning were scored as errors, including a 109-mph scorcher off the bat of Corey Seager that handcuffed Hunter Renfroe in right field for three bases.

Seager also reached base by another Padres mistake in the fourth inning, when Jose Pirela had an easy fly ball clank off his glove in left field. Seager is the first Dodger to reach base twice via error in the same game since Justin Turner on May 13, 2016.

Another hard-hit ball in the ninth for Seager put him on base again, this one a more traditional double. He would score later in the frame on a grand slam by Grandal, who continued his hot start. He also doubled, drove in five on the night, and is hitting .372/.460/.651 in the early going.

Before Monday, 10 of the Dodgers’ 12 home runs were solo shots, and the other two were of the two-run variety. Against the Padres they scored seven runs on two swings. The 10 runs for the Dodgers are a season high.

San Diego led briefly in this game, when Renfroe doubled and Christian Villanueva homered off Ryu in the second inning for a 2-1 advantage. Villaneuva has six home runs on the season, matching the entire Dodgers infield, and has 10 home runs in just 26 career games, putting him in select company.

But Ryu shut the door on the Padres for the rest of his outing, giving the Dodgers their 39th win in their last 58 games against San Diego, dating back to 2015.

Monday particulars

Home runs: Matt Kemp (2), Yasmani Grandal (3); Christian Villanueva (6)

WP - Hyun-jin Ryu (2-0): 6 IP, 3 hits, 2 runs, 9 strikeouts

LP - Robbie Erlin (0-1): 3 IP, 6 hits, 6 runs (4 earned), 2 walks, 4 strikeouts