Ryu Hyun-jin of the Los Angeles Dodgers has picked up his second win of the season, helping his own cause at the plate in the process.
The South Korean left-hander kept the Miami Marlins to two runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings at Dodger Stadium on Thursday (local time), improving to 2-5 for the season. He also lowered his ERA from 4.99 to 4.75, while striking out three and walking one. The Dodgers won 7-2.
Ryu also hit a double and scored a run himself in the Dodgers' three-run second inning.
Ryu Hyun-jin of the Los Angeles Dodgers delivers a pitch against the Miami Marlins during their Major League Baseball regular season game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on May 18, 2017. (AP-Yonhap)
Though he got the victory, Ryu was nearly undone by long balls again. He allowed two solo home runs, and has now been touched for eight long balls this year in 36 innings.
It matches the total number of homers he served up in 152 innings in 2014, Ryu's last full season. He missed the entire 2015 season and made just one start in 2016 after shoulder and elbow surgeries.
Ryu was taken out of Thursday's game with one out in the fifth after taking a batted ball off his left leg. He made 79 pitches, 48 of them for strikes.
Ryu was also hit by a pitch in the fourth trying to lay down a sacrifice bunt -- his first hit-by-pitch in the bigs -- on an action-filled night for him. Ryu said afterward he was "just fine" after getting nailed twice.
After Ryu's three-up, three-down first inning, the Dodgers scored the first run in the bottom half of that inning. Ryu squandered that lead in the top second, however, as Justin Bour hit a solo shot to right to tie the game at 1-1.
The damage could have been worse for Ryu. Giancarlo Stanton led off that inning with a ringing double off the left field wall, but was thrown out at third trying to advance on a wild pitch. Bour then launched that home run on the very next pitch.
The Dodgers rallied with three runs in the bottom second, with Ryu in the thick of it.
Yasiel Puig hit a two-run shot to make it 3-1 Dodgers. Ryu then hit a double to the right-center gap -- the sixth of his career -- and came around to score the Dodgers' fourth run on Chase Utley's single.
Ryu gave up another solo home run in the top third, this time off the bat of Christian Yelich. The Dodgers got a run back in the bottom third thanks to Adrian Gonzalez's RBI single, and Ryu held the Marlins to a single over the next two innings.
In the fifth, Ryu gave up a single and hit a batter to put runners at first and second with one out, but got Yelich to ground into an inning-ending, 6-3 double play.
With one out in the sixth, Ryu allowed a single to Stanton. Bour then hit a sharp grounder up the middle that deflected off Ryu's leg and into shallow third for an infield single.
Ryu, who'd thrown 101 pitches in each of his last two outings, was lifted after 79 pitches, the second lowest total of the season.
Ryu said he could have kept on pitching after that sixth inning play. He added he was disappointed with giving up too many extra-base hits in the early going -- the home run in the second inning was sandwiched by two doubles -- but he said he's learned to live with them.
"Every pitcher wants to avoid giving up extra-base hits and runs, but they're all part of the game," he said. "We scored a few runs early and that made my day relatively easy."
The bullpen took care of the rest, keeping the Marlins off the board the rest of the game.
Right-hander Chris Hatcher relieved Ryu and struck out the next two batters to protect the lead. Luis Avilan took over in the seventh and struck out the side, after falling behind in the count on all three hitters.
The Dodgers added two more runs in the bottom eighth, and closer Kenley Jansen picked up a four-out save. He struck out the side on nine pitches in the ninth for an "immaculate inning." (Yonhap)