Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu makes strong return, beats Padres, 7-1
There was nothing wrong with Hyun-Jin Ryu’s ample posterior Sunday, which was a relief to Ryu and the Dodgers.
Ryu, who was sidelined because of a strained right buttock muscle, returned from the 15-day disabled list to pitch seven dominant innings in a 7-1 victory over the San Diego Padres at Petco Park.
Ryu’s performance came a day after Zack Greinke limited the Padres to one run over eight innings of an extra-innings loss. Greinke recently postponed a start by a couple of days because of elbow problems.
The Dodgers dropped two of three games in San Diego, but look as if they will start the final month of the regular season with a healthy Ryu, Greinke and Clayton Kershaw.
“Kershaw, Greinke, Ryu are our driving force,” first baseman Adrian Gonzalez said. “Those three at the top are really going to take us where we want to go.”
The Dodgers could be lining up the three pitchers to start in San Francisco this month.
Dan Haren was originally scheduled to start Wednesday at Dodger Stadium against the Washington Nationals, but Manager Don Mattingly said Haren will pitch Friday against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
With Carlos Frias expected to start Wednesday and the Dodgers scheduled for a day off Thursday, the Dodgers could start their three best pitchers against the second-place San Francisco Giants on Sept. 12-14. Under that scenario, Greinke and Ryu would pitch the first two games of the series on five days’ rest and Kershaw the series finale on regular four days’ rest.
The Dodgers did something similar at the All-Star break, when they realigned their rotation so that Kershaw, Greinke and Ryu could pitch in San Francisco in late July. The Dodgers swept that three-game series.
The Dodgers lead the Giants in the National League West by 21/2 games. The Giants have won their last six games.
Ryu said he was less concerned Sunday about the standings and more about how his body would respond.
“I was hoping the injury wouldn’t come back and I could pitch through it,” Ryu said.
Ryu gave up a leadoff double in the first inning to Yangervis Solarte, who scored on a two-out double by Yasmani Grandal to tie the score, 1-1.
But Ryu quickly settled down. For the remainder of his time in the game, he faced only one batter more than the minimum.
“I felt pretty comfortable,” Ryu said. “It didn’t take me too long to find a rhythm. I know it’s been two weeks, but it feels like I was there a few days ago.”
Ryu threw only 84 pitches over seven innings. He struck out seven and didn’t walk anyone, improving to 14-6 in the process.
Ryu said he benefited from the 15-day break.
“I think most pitchers would say that rest is always good,” Ryu said. “Obviously, not too long, but if you can squeeze in a bit here and there, it always helps.”
The game Saturday marked the return of not only Ryu, but also third baseman Juan Uribe.
Uribe, who went on the disabled list Aug. 16 because of a strained right hamstring, started at third base and was two for five with a double and two runs batted in.
“Everything felt fine,” Uribe said. “Nothing bothered me. I have to keep going forward.”
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