The Los Angeles Dodgers' starting pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin (left) pitches on first during the second game of their two-game Major League Baseball opening series at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Sydney, Sunday. (AP-Yonhap)
Ryu Hyun-jin of the Los Angeles Dodgers won his first start of the 2014 season against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Australia on Sunday, throwing five shutout innings in LA's 7-5 win in the second game of the Major League Baseball (MLB) opening series Down Under.
Ryu stymied the Diamondbacks at Sydney Cricket Ground, yielding just two hits and one walk while striking out five batters. He also went 1-for-2 with a run scored at the plate. He threw 87 pitches, 55 of them for strikes.
Ryu opened his sophomore big league season on a winning note.
Last year, Ryu gave up 10 hits and three runs, two of them unearned, to take the loss in his first MLB start against the San Francisco Giants.
The left-hander was 14-8 with a 3.00 ERA last year and finished fourth in the voting for the NL Rookie of the Year honors. He'd pitched the previous seven seasons for the Hanwha Eagles in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO).
In 2013, Ryu went 1-2 with a 4.65 ERA in five starts against the Diamondbacks. He also struggled in opening frames last year, posting an ERA of 5.10 in the first inning, higher than any other inning.
On Sunday, the Dodgers spotted him a one-run advantage thanks to Andre Ethier's RBI single in the top of the first. Ryu retired the first two batters he faced, and after giving up a single to Paul Goldschmidt, Ryu struck out Martin Prado swinging.
He gave up a two-out hit to Gerardo Parra in the second inning but stranded him by striking out Didi Gregorius.
The Diamondbacks would not get another hit the rest of the afternoon. They did threaten to score in the bottom fourth on a pair of fielding miscues.
Goldschmidt reached on an error by second baseman Dee Gordon.
After striking out Prado, Ryu got Miguel Montero to hit what could have been a double-play ball to short. Shortstop Hanley Ramirez tried to tag second base and throw to first but both runners were safe.
Ryu went on to retire Mark Trumbo on a fly to right and struck out Parra looking on a slider.
The Dodgers gave the South Korean pitcher more cushion, scoring twice in the bottom of the fifth. Chris Withrow relieved Ryu to start the sixth inning.
The Dodgers won both games in Sydney over the weekend. On Saturday, the reigning NL Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw allowed one run on five hits over 6 2/3 innings in LA's 3-1 victory. firstname.lastname@example.org