Baseball sure is a funny game isn’t it? We were expecting a pitching duel the last couple of nights, and we got an 8-7 win instead. Tonight we got our pitching duel, as Hyun-jin Ryu out-dueled former Dodger Bum Joe Blanton (Bumton) by pitching a two-hit complete game shut-out in the second game of the annual Freeway Series against the Angels. The Dodgers beat the Halos 3-0 to take a 2-0 lead in the four game series.
Before the game Don Mattingly moved Matt Kemp down to the number five spot in the lineup, and batted Andre Ethier cleanup. Kemp is still reeling from going hitless in his last 12 at-bats, and whiffing four times last night as Dodger fans booed him off the field. There were no boos for Kemp tonight, since he looked better tonight nearly missing a home run by a couple of feet in the third inning, and then doubling and scoring a run in the bottom of the sixth. Kemp was double-switched out of the game in the top of the ninth.
The Dodgers caught a break as Josh Hamilton was a late scratch because of back spasms. J.B. Shuck got the start in his place. The Dodgers seemed to catch another huge break just getting to face Blanton, who has been his usual terrible self this season with the Halos. Although Blanton wasn’t terrible tonight as he allowed three runs on seven hits through seven frames. The Dodgers broke a scoreless tie in the fifth when they scored two runs on a two-run home run from a guy you would least expect to hit a home run. Of course I am talking about the light hitting Luis Cruz. In that inning, Juan Uribe had singled, and Cruz followed by hitting a home run into the left field pavilion. The blast is his first of the year, and we all hope that blast leads to many more to come for Cochito. The real question is, if you hit a home run off of Joe Blanton, does it really count? The answer is yes, yes, it does count.
The Dodgers plated their third run in the sixth when Kemp doubled and scored on an A.J. Ellis single to right. Ryu was masterful as he at one point had retired 19 Halo hitters in a row. He pitched nine frames, allowing just two hits, and whiffing seven. He did not walk a batter, and this is the first start he has not allowed a walk since his first start against the Giants back in April. Ryu pitches his first complete game shutout win as the Dodgers blank the Halos 3-0. Ryu made 113 pitches.
Top of the first. Hyun-jin Ryu starts the top of the first by retiring Erick Aybar on a pop fly to left. Mike Trout flies out to Ethier. Albert Pujols a long fly ball out to center. The Angels fail to score in the first inning.
Carl Crawford leads off the bottom half of the first by flying out to Trout. Mark Ellis drills a one-hopper to third for the second out. The red hot Adrian Gonzalez goes down on a pop out, and the Dodgers come up empty in the first. It’s a 123 frame for old friend Joe Blanton.
Ryu gets Mark Trumbo to tap out to third in the top of the second. Howie Kendrick reaches on a ground ball base hit into left field. Ryu gloves Alberto Callaspo’s line drive, which goes in and out of said glove. It could have been a double play otherwise. Ryu’s only play is to first for the second out. Kendrick advances to second. Ryu whiffs Iannetta to end the frame.
With one out in the bottom half of the second, Blanton hits Matt Kemp with a pitch. A.J. Ellis lifts one to right for the second out. Juan Uribe, a hero last night, bounces out, and we’re scoreless after two frames.
In the top of the third, J.B. Shuck grounds out, nearly beating the throw from Cruz. Blanton is out on a nice play from Gonzalez who comes off the bag to field the grounder and underhand feed to Ryu covering first. The annoying Aybar flies out to Crawford to end the top half of the third. Ryu doubles off the wall in right for his second double of the season, with one out in the bottom of the third. Crawford whiffs for out number two. M.Ellis grounds to short, and the Dodgers waste a one out double from Ryu. No score after three.
Trout grounds out in the top of the fourth. The hobbled Albert Pujols drops a slow roller to third, uribe races in and bare-hand throws to just get Pujols by a step. Trumbo’s sharp grounder back to the box deflects off of Ryu’s foot. The left hander recovers to throw out Trumbo and end the inning. Ryu appears to be ok, but semi-limps while walking off the field.
Andre Ethier whacked a one out double down the left field line in the bottom of the fourth. Kemp flies out to deep center, sending Trout back to the wall. Ethier tags up to third. Blanton of course whiffs A.J. looking and the Dodgers don’t score.
Ryu seemingly unaffected by his foot injury retires Kendrick and Callaspo on ground outs. Ryu whiffs Iannetta to end the inning.
Uribe starts out the bottom of the fourth with a base hit to center. Luis Cruz, the struggling Luis Cruz smacks a 2-2 pitch into the left field pavilion for a two-run home run. That’s Cruz’s first home run of the season. 2-0 Dodgers. There are hugs all around for Cruz in the Dodger dugout. Blanton whiffs Ryu, but M.Ellis two-out singles to center. Blanton recovers to whiff Gonzo, but the Dodgers have a two-run lead thanks to Cruz’s shot. Ryu now with a two-run lead pitches a 123 top of the fifth. He whiffs Blanton and Aybar to give himself four whiffs on the night.
Bison gets a one-out leg double in the bottom of the fifth. A.J. Ellis immediately singles Kemp home to extend the Dodger lead to 3-0. A.J. is caught in a rundown between first and second and tagged out, but the Dodgers score a run.
Ryu continues to dominate. In the top of the seventh he whiffs Trout and gets Pujols to loop out to M.Ellis. Trumbo grounds out to short, and Ryu has retired 17 Angels in a row.
Blanton retires the Dodgers in order in the bottom of the seventh in what appears to be his final inning. Blanton goes seven innings allowing three runs on seven hits. He walked none and whiffed five while making 107 pitches.
Ryu whiffs Kendrick, and gets Callaspo to ground out in the top of the eighth. But with two outs, Iannetta doubles down the line in right. That breaks up Ryu’s string of 19 consecutive batters retired. J.B. Shuck grounds out to Cruz, and we move to the bottom of the eighth with the Dodgers still leading 3-0. Halo rookie Dane De La Rosa pitches a scoreless bottom of the eighth, and we move to the ninth with the Dodgers still leading 3-0.
Ryu starts the ninth, and whiffs pinch-hitter Brendan Harris for out number one. Aybar grounds out to third. Trout grounds out to second, and the Dodgers win!
What a great game huh?! Ryu was amazing! The lefty is now 6-2 with a 2.89 ERA after the win. Blanton takes the loss and is now 1-8 on the season. The Dodgers now have won two in a row, don’t look now! The Boys in Blue improve to 22-28 on the year. One more win and the Dodgers will take a series against the Angels for the first time since 2006.
Are the Dodgers starting to turn things around? We also learned good news on Hanley Ramirez, who is improving, and could get into a rehab game sometime later this week. Can the Dodgers keep up this momentum?
The series will now move to Anaheim as the third game will see the return of Halo’s ace Jered Weaver. The Dodgers will counter with left hander Chris Capuano. Remember, since the next two games are in Anaheim, it means the use of the designated hitter. Join us again tomorrow night as the Dodgers and Angels battle in Orange County at 7:05 PM. The game will be televised on KCAL 9.
There is nothing I love more than beating the NOT Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, of Orange County, of Disneyland. I hate the Angels, so these wins are as sweet as they come. Go Blue!