This time, it was Ryu.
The 32 year-old left-hander allowed three hits in seven innings to carry the Dodgers to a 9-0 victory against the D-backs in the second game of the three-game series at Chase Field. The National League Pitcher of the Month for May struck out two, didn’t walk a batter and finished the outing with 104 pitches, 25 of which came in the first inning thanks to errors by first baseman David Freese and shortstop Corey Seager.
“Baseball is never easy, but I’m executing my game plan and things are working out for me,” Ryu said. “There’s always a challenge, especially when commanding my pitches. I’m trying to make sure that I throw each and every pitch in a very competitive fashion.”
It’s been quite a run for Ryu, who became the first pitcher in the NL to reach nine wins this season. Since taking his only loss on April 20, Ryu is 7-0 with a 0.75 ERA, 48 strikeouts and three walks over a span of eight starts. The seven straight wins are a career high.
What’s more, Ryu has allowed runs in exactly one of his last 51 2/3 innings pitched. The lefty had a stretch of 32 consecutive scoreless innings interrupted by a two-run second inning in Pittsburgh on May 25. He finished that game with four scoreless innings, then spun 7 2/3 scoreless innings vs. the Mets on Thursday and seven scoreless against the D-backs on Tuesday.
“He’s just in complete control,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “It’s front and back, it’s all quadrants, it’s changing speeds and mixing up the sequence.”
As for Bellinger, who leads the Major Leagues in almost every offensive category and grew up not far from Chase Field, he was greeted with chants of “MVP! MVP!” from his loyal fans every time he stepped inside the batter’s box.
All he did was smack a 410-foot two-run triple with one out in the first inning to give Ryu all of the cushion he would need.
“I had a lot of family here, and I don’t expect the chants, but it’s pretty cool to hear from the fans,” said Bellinger, who starred at Hamilton High School in Chandler. “I just want to keep playing well.”
It was a 3-0 game heading into the seventh before Enrique Hernandez hit his 10th home run to spark a two-run inning.
The Dodgers’ defense stung Ryu again in the bottom of the inning when Seager made a bad throw to second base for his second error of the game, nullifying what could have been an inning-ending double play. The extra workload prevented Ryu from pitching into the eighth inning for the fifth time in his last seven starts.
“Honestly, we didn’t play good defense behind him, and it probably cost him an extra inning of pitching,” Roberts said.
The Dodgers tacked on a run in the eighth and three more in the ninth. Bellinger was intentionally walked in the final inning, and the boos echoed throughout the stadium. He scored his team’s ninth run on a double by Freese and finished 1-for-4.
Yimi Garcia and Scott Alexander pitched the final two innings to preserve the shutout.
“We are a good team and we’re just playing baseball,” Bellinger said. “That’s all it is. We are just playing good baseball.”