The box score says Hyun-Jin Ryu logged seven more scoreless innings, extending his latest scoreless streak to 18 2/3 frames, which suggests he secured 21 outs in the Dodgers’ 9-0 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday. It denotes another gleaming performance in a gleaming season.
But Ryu was even better than that. Those seven innings, which dropped his earned-run average to 1.35, were bookended by defensive gaffes behind him. The mistakes, two in the first inning and one in the seventh, forced him to labor more than he should have. They generated the only jams he encountered and required him to get more than 21 outs. They could have wrecked his night. But all they did was potentially cost him a chance to pitch the eighth inning.
Ryu, calmly as ever, maneuvered free both times, beginning his June as he spent May as the Dodgers won their seventh consecutive game to seize a 101/2-game lead in the National League West.
“It’s kind of redundant,” manager Dave Roberts said.
Ryu held Arizona to three hits. He didn’t walk a batter. He did it with only two strikeouts, becoming the second pitcher this season to register at least seven scoreless innings and fewer than three strikeouts.
“They were swinging at pitches that were borderline and I think that induced a lot of groundballs,” Ryu said through an interpreter. “As I always like to say, I’m not a power pitcher who’s going to blow by these hitters. I just focus on executing my pitches.”
The Dodgers offense continued rolling and the Diamondbacks did not counter fire with fire. Their starter was 26-year-old rookie Taylor Clarke. He was making his fourth start. His third start was over after he gave up five runs in two innings against the Colorado Rockies. The first inning Tuesday suggested another short outing was in store.
After Joc Pederson singled and Max Muncy walked, Cody Bellinger hit a ball off the center-field wall for a two-run triple. The Dodgers made Clarke work for his outs — he threw 95 pitches in five innings — but they tallied only one more run against him.
Clarke exited after surrendering four hits, walking two and striking out four. The Dodgers preyed on the bullpen, scoring two runs in the seventh inning, one in the eighth and three in the ninth. Corey Seager and David Freese each hit two doubles. Enrique Hernandez was two for four with his 10th home run. Russell Martin also was two for four. Seager, Freese and Hernandez joined Bellinger in driving in two runs.
The Dodgers have outscored opponents 41-15 during their winning streak, the team’s longest since 2017. They have eight shutouts over the last 25 games. Their starting pitchers have a 1.87 ERA during the span. They’re on pace to set an NL record for victories.
“There’s a lot of guys in this locker room talking about how this team reminds them of the 2017 team and I’m one of those guys,” Hernandez said, referring to the club that won 104 games and fell one victory shy of a World Series title. “Coming to the field is a lot of fun right now.”
Before Tuesday, Ryu led the majors in ERA (1.48) and walk rate (1.9%). He gave up three runs in 452/3 innings in May. He amassed 36 strikeouts to three walks across six starts.
After retiring the first two batters in the first inning with ease Tuesday, Ryu induced a routine grounder to third baseman Max Muncy but first baseman Freese botched the catch and was charged with an error, which allowed Adam Jones to advance to second base.
The next batter, David Peralta, hit a grounder to Seager’s right at shortstop. Seager bobbled it, putting runners on the corners. Ryu got Christian Walker to hit a dribbler to him and completed the play to end the inning, but the blunders forced him to throw 11 extra pitches. He finished the frame with 25.
Ryu threw 60 pitches over the next five innings, retiring 15 of 17 batters until he encountered turbulence in the seventh. Walker singled and Ildelmaro Vargas hit a routine grounder that should’ve been converted into an inning-ending double play.
Instead, Seager’s throw to second base sailed into right field. Walker advanced to third base. The next batter, Nick Ahmed, hit a grounder to Seager. This time, he successfully initiated a double play, bringing opponents to two for 43 with runners in scoring position against Ryu.
“It’s no surprise,” Hernandez said of Ryu.