Ryu Hyun-jin of the Los Angeles Dodgers tied his career high with his 14th win of the Major League Baseball season Sunday, cruising to a victory against the San Diego Padres on the road in his return from the disabled list.
The South Korean left-hander limited the fellow National League West club to one run on four hits in seven strong innings as the Dodgers won the game 7-1. Ryu struck out seven and walked none to improve to 14-6 this year and lowered his ERA from 3.28 to 3.18.
In his rookie season last year, Ryu was 14-8 with a 3.00 ERA.
He needed 30 starts to get to 14 wins in 2013 but matched the win total in his 24th start of 2014.
Andre Ethier pinch hit for Ryu in the top of the eighth inning.
This was Ryu's first outing since Aug. 13 against the Atlanta Braves. He was placed on the 15-day DL two days later with a strained right glute, his second trip to the DL this year.
Ryu gave up a run in the bottom of the first but settled down to retire the next 14 batters. The Dodgers gave their starter plenty of run support and blew things open with a four-run eighth.
This was Ryu's fourth start of 2014 against the Padres. He has given up just two earned runs in 26 innings against them with 26 strikeouts against only four walks.
The Dodgers gave Ryu an early 1-0 cushion on an RBI single by Scott Van Slyke in the top of the first, but the Padres evened the score right away with two doubles in the bottom half of the inning.
Ryu allowed just two more base hits the rest of the game. Matt Kemp broke the 1-1 tie with a single up the middle in the fifth, and the Dodgers charged further out in front in the eighth.
With nobody out and the bases loaded, Juan Uribe lined a single to right to make it 3-1. Then on a wild pitch by the Padres reliever Jesse Hahn, Kemp came home and avoided the tag with a nifty head-first slide to give LA a 4-1 advantage. Darwin Barney's single put two more runs on the board for the Dodgers.
The visitors tagged on another run in the ninth for good measure, as Uribe drove in Carl Crawford with a double.
In relief of Ryu, Pedro Baez pitched two scoreless innings.
Ryu said after the game that he didn't do anything special before his first start in 18 days.
"Today, I did the same things I usually do in preparation for a start," he said. "I was feeling perfectly fine. It's nice for pitchers to get a break once in a while, as long as the layoff isn't too long."
He said he was pleased with every pitch in his arsenal, especially his curve and changeup.
Asked to predict his win total for this year, Ryu said, "I don't think about numbers when I take the mound. I only worry about what a starting pitcher is supposed to do." (Yonhap)