Turner’s 2 HRs, Ryu’s 7 innings send Dodgers past Dbacks 9-3
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Hyun-Jin Ryu’s ERA is already the lowest in baseball, and it’s somehow still dropping even faster than the Los Angeles Dodgers’ rapidly diminishing magic number.
The South Korean ace and his teammates are cruising toward a special finish to the season after yet another dominant homestand for the major league leaders.
Justin Turner hit two of Los Angeles’ four homers and Ryu pitched seven scoreless innings of five-hit ball in the Dodgers’ 9-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday.
Ryu (12-2) made a seamless return from a 10-day stint on the injured list with minor neck stiffness. Even with new catcher Will Smith behind the plate, Ryu didn’t give up a hit until the fourth inning, and he pitched out of jams in the fifth and sixth while lowering his ERA to a sparkling 1.45.
“It’s definitely unbelievable,” Ryu said through a translator. “I don’t think it’s all because of myself. There are many people around me who helped me reach that number.”
If Ryu maintains that number over the final seven weeks of the season, he would finish with the lowest ERA since Bob Gibson’s 1.12 in 1968. With plenty of starts between him and history, Ryu is keeping his focus on staying sharp for the playoffs, where the two-time defending NL champions hope this brilliant summer finally translates into a World Series title.
“It was really impressive,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “He didn’t skip a beat. He did everything he needed to do, and that’s a good hitting club over there.”
Turner and Cody Bellinger hit back-to-back homers in the first inning as the Dodgers finished 8-2 on a 10-game stand with one more blowout win at Chavez Ravine, where they’re a majors-best 48-16. Smith also hit the seventh homer of his charmed rookie season, doubled and drove in three runs while Los Angeles (79-41) took an early 8-0 lead.
Eduardo Escobar homered off Yimi García in the eighth to prevent the Diamondbacks from being shut out in back-to-back games against their NL West rivals. Nick Ahmed added a two-run shot in the ninth after Los Angeles fell four outs short of its majors’ best 14th shutout.
But one day after Kenta Maeda threw seven scoreless innings, Arizona failed to score against Los Angeles’ starting pitcher for the third straight game. Ryu, Maeda and Walker Buehler combined for 20 scoreless innings in the weekend series.
“They have good starting pitching,” Ahmed said. “It’s no secret. Probably the best in the game. But we’ve got to do a better job early innings just trying to get on base or do something to start a rally. It’s tough to come back in every game.”
Although Mike Leake (9-9) persevered through five innings, he yielded eight runs and 10 hits — including those four homers — in his second rough start in Southern California in the past month. Before the Mariners traded him to Arizona, the right-hander gave up eight hits and seven runs while failing to get out of the first inning at Angel Stadium.
“That’s what the Dodgers do,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “They slug, and they’re looking to elevate the ball, and they have the launch angles down. When you make mistakes in the middle of the plate, you’re going to suffer the consequences.”
Both Ryu and the LA offense worked quickly and effectively on a hot day at Dodger Stadium.
Five pitches after Turner brought home Joc Pederson with his 18th homer of the season, Bellinger hit his 38th homer, pulling him even with the Mets’ Pete Alonso and one behind NL leader Christian Yelich of Milwaukee.
Pederson had an RBI single in the second, and Smith boosted the lead to 6-0 in the third when he brought home Corey Seager with his homer.
Smith’s success as a relatively unheralded rookie continues to strain credulity. Even though he hadn’t homered since Aug. 1, the catcher has driven in 23 runs in just 22 games with Los Angeles after adding a sacrifice fly in the fifth.
Turner got his ninth career multihomer game with a solo leadoff shot in the fifth.
CATCHER ON MOUND
Diamondbacks catcher Alex Avila made his second career pitching appearance in the eighth, giving up two hits and his first career run. Avila threw two scoreless innings of relief last season.
Diamondbacks: Matt Andriese returned from the injured list and pitched two scoreless innings of two-hit relief. The right-hander had been out since July 20 with a bruised left foot.
Dodgers: Ross Stripling is playing catch again after struggling with neck injuries. Manager Dave Roberts isn’t sure whether Stripling will be a starter or a reliever down the stretch and into the postseason.
Diamondbacks: Merrill Kelly (7-12, 4.52 ERA) takes the mound at Coors Field when Arizona begins a series against the Colorado Rockies and Peter Lambert (2-3, 6.87 ERA).
Dodgers: After a travel day, Clayton Kershaw (11-2, 2.77 ERA) looks for a win in his fourth consecutive start in a series opener against the Miami Marlins and Jordan Yamamoto (4-3, 4.17 ERA).