Ryu Hyun-jin gave up just three hits over seven innings Monday night to lead the Dodgers to a crucial win and avoid getting down by three games in the best-of-seven National League Championship Series against the St Louis Cardinals.
The pitching duel between the Korean lefty Ryu and the Cards ace Adam Wainwright was even through the first three innings. Wainwright surrendered a lone hit while Ryu allowed one walk while retiring 12 of his first 13 batters.
It wasn’t until the fifth inning that the Cardinals scored their first hit of the game with a single to right by third-baseman David Freese, the MVP of the 2011 World Series. However, Ryu worked efficiently to prevent the Cardinals from capitalizing on that hit by preventing any runner from getting past second base.
The only real drama for Ryu came with two outs in the seventh inning. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly came out to the mound with a translator for a conference with the Korean sensation. The talk seemed to have the intended effect. Ryu ended the inning by striking out Matt Adams. Korean flags erupted across the stands while catcher A.J. Ellis pumped his right arm in the air.
The Dodgers scored three runs on an Adrian Gonzalez RBI double, a Yasiel Puig RBI triple and two hits by Hanley Ramirez. With the Dodgers now trailing the series 2-1 game 4 is scheduled for Tuesday at Dodger Stadium with game 5 on Wednesday. If the Dodgers manage to win at least one more game, the series will shift to St Louis for the final two games.
The win comes as a huge relief for Ryu. After a sensational first season with 30 starts, a 3.00 ERA, 154 kills and a 14-8 record, he had struggled in the division series against Atlanta as the first Korean pitcher to start a playoff game. He was pulled after just three innings in which he allowed four runs on six hits.