LOS ANGELES—Hyun Jin-Ryu may have lost his spot in the starting rotation, but he hasn’t been lost to the team. Ryu came on in the sixth inning and only allowed two hits over four scoreless innings. He earned his first career save in his first relief appearance since 2011, when he was still in the Korean Baseball Association.
“My initial reaction was I didn’t understand where the front office was coming from,” Ryu said through a translator. “I’m a starter at heart. I believe I’ll get another start. It was just a one-time appearance so you can’t really say I’m good at this role.”
Ryu (2-5, 4,75 ERA) has battled shoulder and elbow injuries over the past two years, and after a shaky start to the season he was removed from the rotation on May 18 following a win against the Marlins. Manager Dave Roberts, who showed up an hour late to media availability admitted management wasn’t entirely sure what to do with him.
“It’s been in the works for a few days and just trying to find the right time to plug him in,” Roberts said after the game. He went on to add: “This is not something that we plan on being permanent. It’s just to make sure we build his pitch count up, get him some consistent innings.”
The games starter, Kenta Maeda 4-2, 5.08 ERA), played well too. He allowed seven hits and three runs. His biggest contribution though came as a batter. After giving up three runs in the first inning, Maeda and the Dodgers began to crawl back into the lead, starting with a solo shot by Chase Utley in the second inning, Then after an RBI single by Puig made it 3-2 Cardinals, Maeda delivered a two run single to put the Dodgers up 4-3. He was thrown out at second trying to stretch the play, but Maeda already done enough to secure the win as the Cardinals never scored again, which irked their manager.
“We needed to add on,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “I like three [runs] in the first. When their pitcher hits a two-run almost-double, that’s a hard one to come back from. … We had [Maeda] on the ropes a couple of times [and] kind of let him off the hook.”
Even after gaining the lead, the Dodgers didn’t let up. In the fifth inning, Chris Taylor scored off a wild pitch. Adrian Gonzalez, newly returned from the disabled list, followed that up with an RBI double. Taylor added to the score again when he sent Kike Hernandez to home plate with a double that brought it to the final score of 7-3. Cardinals starting pitcher Michael Wacha (2-2) had a rough day, surrendering a season worst six runs off seven hits in only four innings of play.
“They did a good job battling,” said Wacha, whose ERA rose to 3.66. “Whenever I would get ahead, they would battle to get a full count, 2-2 [count]. They put up good at-bats, and in some of those cases, I wasn’t able to finish them off.”
After Thursday nights win the Dodgers have now won six series this season while improving to 17-8 at home. They will look to win yet another one as they host the World Champion Cubs for a three game home series. Alex Wood (5-0, 1.88 ERA), the only Dodger undefeated Dodger pitcher will be on the mound.