Dodgers’ Ryu Hyun-jin collects 4th win of season vs. Mets

August 7, 2017

SEOUL, Aug. 7 (Yonhap) — Ryu Hyun-jin of the Los Angeles Dodgers has collected his fourth win of 2017 after throwing a scoreless start against the New York Mets.

Ryu improved to 4-6 after holding the Mets off the board across seven innings in the Dodgers’ 8-0 victory at Citi Field in New York on Sunday (local time). He was relieved by Tony Cingrani in the bottom eighth when the Dodgers were leading 7-0.

It was Ryu’s first victory since June 17 when he pitched against the Cincinnati Reds. He had no-decisions in his last four outings.

In this photo taken by the Associated Press on Aug. 6, 2017, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin throws a pitch against the New York Mets during a Major League Baseball game at Citi Field in New York. (Yonhap)In this photo taken by the Associated Press on Aug. 6, 2017, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin throws a pitch against the New York Mets during a Major League Baseball game at Citi Field in New York. (Yonhap)

This was also Ryu’s second start this season in which he didn’t give up a run. He previously tossed seven shutout innings against the San Francisco Giants on July 30.

Against the Mets, Ryu struck out eight while giving up just one single and walking none. It was the first time that the 30-year-old South Korean has allowed only one hit since he joined the majors in 2013. He threw 96 pitches, 66 for strikes, and got some help from his offense, as the Dodgers produced five runs in the first three innings.

The left-hander has now thrown at least five innings and held his opponents to two earned runs or fewer in each of his past six starts. He has lowered his ERA from 4.42 to 3.53 in that span.

South Korean actor Jang Dong-gun (3rd from R) poses after throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at Citi Field in New York.(Courtesy of the Korea Times)South Korean actor Jang Dong-gun (3rd from R) poses after throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at Citi Field in New York.(Courtesy of the Korea Times)

In a game where South Korean actor Jang Dong-gun threw out the ceremonial first pitch, Ryu had his best start of the season from the get-go, striking out first four batters before getting Curtis Granderson to fly out to right field in the second inning. In the third, Ryu allowed a single to Travis d’Arnaud, but struck out the next two batters — Amed Rosario and Steven Matz — and got Michael Conforto on a grounder to second to end the inning.

Ryu then picked up a strike out apiece in the fourth and the fifth while inducing grounders and fly outs to contain the Mets’ offense. He wrapped the sixth inning with just five pitches and closed out the seventh inning with two grounders and a fly out.

Ryu was cold at the plate as he struck out three times, but his Dodgers teammates were sharp. Following a double steal by Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger with two outs, Logan Forsythe hit a single to bring home both runners in the first inning. Austin Barnes then slammed a double to give a 3-0 lead to the Dodgers.

In the third, the Dodgers made the score 5-0 after Turner slammed a two-run shot off Mets starter Matz. Bellinger then delivered another two-run homer in the eighth. The Dodgers scored their final run in the ninth with Chris Taylor’s triple to win the game 8-0.

Ryu Hyun-jin of the Los Angeles Dodgers speaks to reporters after his win against the New York Mets at Citi Field in New York on Aug. 6, 2017. (Yonhap)Ryu Hyun-jin of the Los Angeles Dodgers speaks to reporters after his win against the New York Mets at Citi Field in New York on Aug. 6, 2017. (Yonhap)

Ryu said he had a good command of his pitches. Of his 96 pitches, he threw 34 fastballs followed by 22 cutters, 19 curves, 17 changeups and four sliders.

“As I always said, command is important than velocity,” he said. “It was a game that taught me the importance of your command.”

Ryu missed the entire 2015 season to have surgery on his left shoulder to repair a torn labrum and made just one start in 2016. He has been struggling to get his fastball velocity up to par. Against the Mets, Ryu’s fastball velocity reached as high as 92.2 mph.

“My body feels good and it is similar to what I was before having surgery,” he said. “I know I have to work on my velocity going down as I threw more innings, but other than that, I’m alright.”

Before this game, the Dodgers offense supported Ryu only 2.7 runs per game, worst among their starting pitchers who played at least 10 games. They, however, produced three runs from the start against the Mets, which Ryu said he had “very comfortable” pitching after that. Ryu is now 19-1 when the Dodgers score six or more runs.

The Dodgers recently acquired Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish via trade, and Ryu said the addition of the Japanese right-hander pushes him to concentrate more on his games.

“My future goals are to stay in the rotation and stay healthy,” he said.

kdon@yna.co.kr

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