Hyun-Jin Ryu of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in Game Three of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium on Monday in Los Angeles, California. (AFP-Yonhap News)
Ryu Hyun-jin of the Los Angeles Dodgers threw seven shutout innings in the team's 3-0 win over the St. Cardinals at home in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series (NLCS) on Monday, earning his first career playoff win in the big leagues.
At Dodger Stadium, Ryu limited the Cards to just three singles and struck out four in seven strong innings, as the Dodgers cut the series deficit to 2-1. He became the first South Korean to pick up a starting win in Major League Baseball (MLB) postseason.
This was the second career Major League Baseball (MLB) postseason game for Ryu, who signed with the Dodgers last December after spending seven seasons in South Korea.
The left-hander no-hit the Cardinals through four innings, in a marked improvement from his first playoff start earlier this month against the Atlanta Braves in the division series.
He lasted only three innings and gave up four earned runs on six hits against Atlanta in a no-decision. The Dodgers beat the Braves 13-6 in the game, but it raised doubts about Ryu's ability to withstand the big league playoff pressure.
The left-hander silenced critics with his impressive outing and was his vintage self, mixing in fastballs with changeups and slow curves to fool St. Louis hitters.
He retired 12 of the first 13 batters he faced, including 11 in a row after walking Carlos Beltran with one out in the first.
David Freese and Matt Adams hit back-to-back singles to start the fifth for the Cardinals, but pinch runner Daniel Descalso was doubled off at second on Jon Jay's shallow fly to left. Ryu then got a ground out to end the inning.
That was the only time that the Cards had a runner in scoring position. After retiring the side in order in the sixth, Ryu gave up a one-out single to Yadier Molina in the seventh, but the Cards catcher was later forced out at second on a grounder by Descalso.
Ryu then struck out Adams to cap off his start.
Brian Wilson relieved Ryu to begin the eighth inning and worked a scoreless eighth. Closer Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect ninth for the save.
The Dodgers put two runs on the board in the bottom of the fourth on a double by Adrian Gonzalez and a triple by Yasiel Puig.
They added an insurance run on Hanley Ramirez's single, as Carl Crawford just beat the throw home.
Ryu went toe-to-toe against Cards' right-hander Adam Wainwright, who carried a 4-0 career playoff record with a 2.03 ERA in 48 2/3 innings prior to Monday.
Wainwright suffered the loss after giving up two earned runs on six hits in seven innings. (Yonhap News)