Lefty retires first 21 Reds before Frazier's double in eighth
Special to MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- Hyun-Jin Ryu, with a hard act to follow, was positioned to trump it on Monday night. The Dodgers left-hander came within six outs of a perfect game against the Reds, but settled for a 4-3 victory at Dodger Stadium.
Todd Frazier doubled to left field on a high changeup leading off the eighth inning after Ryu had retired the first 21 Reds, striking out seven. The Dodgers' Josh Beckett no-hit the Phillies in Philadelphia on Sunday.
"He was really good," manager Don Mattingly said of Ryu. "The ball was jumping out of his hand."
Mattingly also said he told Ryu, when they got on the plane in Philadelphia to come home, "He'd have to pitch a perfect game today to top Beckett."
No team has had a no-hitter in consecutive games. The one time it came close was on May 5-6, 1917, when the St. Louis Browns no-hit the eventual World Series-champion White Sox on consecutive days -- but the second no-hitter was the second game of a doubleheader.
Ryu said he remembered his manager's words. But Ryu also said the Beckett game "didn't have an effect at all."
"Pitching big games doesn't happen because you want them to happen," he said. "A lot of things have to fall into place."
That was true of this one, until things almost fell apart. Kenley Jansen had to come on for a four-out save, his 15th, as the Reds sent nine men to the plate in the eighth. Ryu gave up three hits and a run before leaving after 7 1/3 innings. Reliever Brian Wilson got one out, but walked two and gave up Billy Hamilton's two-run double before Jansen came to the rescue. He struck out Brandon Phillips to end the eighth, then escaped a two-on, two-out jam in the ninth by getting Devin Mesoraco on a fly to short center.
"It got to that point," Mattingly said of using his closer -- who had last pitched Friday -- in the first four-out save of his career. "There's nobody else to go to there. It was the right time for it."
Frazier's double was the first hit the Dodgers had allowed since Paul Maholm gave up a seventh-inning single on Saturday to the Phillies' Ben Revere. The 17 consecutive hitless innings is a Los Angeles Dodgers record.
"He wasn't leaving anything over the middle of the plate," Reds center fielder Chris Heisey said of Ryu. "It was almost like he was setting his fastball up with his changeup and curveball. A lot first-pitch changeups and curveballs.
"He did a great job of just mixing it really well and not giving in. He was just dotting all the way with the changeup and not leaving it up, mixing his fastball in. He was pitching well."
Before Ryu came out to pitch the eighth, the Dodgers batted for 32 minutes in the bottom of seventh. Ryu batted, ran the bases, and scored. A pitching change from Reds starter Johnny Cueto (4-4) to Manny Parra was part of the long inning.
And Justin Turner started the three-run Dodgers rally by battling Cueto for 16 pitches to draw a walk. Carl Crawford capped the rally with a two-run double.
"I guess you could blame it on me," Turner said of the long inning, "for the 16-pitch at-bat, and being the cooler."
Mattingly said: "It was good that we scored runs, but I think it probably hurt him [Ryu] at that point. It kind of broke the momentum for him."
But Turner, playing third base, twice made diving stops to his left and got up to throw out Zack Cozart, in the first and third innings.
"He throws a change and a slow curve -- you've got to be ready," Turner said of Ryu.
Ryu said Turner's defense "was a huge part of the game today. He actually inspired me into trying a little bit harder with those plays early."
Drew Butera, who was six outs away from catching consecutive no-hitters, said Ryu "was great through seven. I thought he was good in the eighth, too. It was just the third time through the lineup, they'd seen most of his pitches at that point.
"It was fun for me. He had all his pitches working. It would've been a lot of fun if he'd got it."