Trio of taters back Ryu's strong return from DL
Adrian homers for third straight game; Puig, Hanley also connect
NEW YORK -- After Clayton Kershaw's narrow escape from a batting practice injury, Hyun-Jin Ryu returned Wednesday night to make the starting rotation whole as the Dodgers beat the Mets, 4-3.
Kershaw took a Justin Turner line drive off his right shin, which was taped after the game, but said it's nothing serious and he will be ready to make his next start. The Dodgers now have Zack Greinke, Kershaw, Ryu, Dan Haren and Josh Beckett lined up to make a long-awaited run at the top of the division.
After losing two of three in Arizona, the Dodgers have already won the series from the Mets and go for a sweep Thursday night.
"When you get the first two, you've got to get greedy, and we'll try to do that tomorrow," said manager Don Mattingly. "With Ryu back, we've got our rotation lined up, and we expect them to keep us in the game pretty much every day. Knowing they'll give us a chance to win every day gives you a lot of confidence."
Despite solo home runs from Adrian Gonzalez, Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez, the decisive run was scored by Chone Figgins, whose eighth-inning pinch-double was cashed in when the Mets couldn't turn what should have been an inning-ending double play.
Ryu came off the disabled list for the start and struck out nine in six innings, and the score was close only after Eric Campbell's two-run homer in the sixth inning, his first as a Major Leaguer. That snapped Ryu's streak of scoreless innings on the road at 33.
Ryu was making his first start since April 27, when he experienced left shoulder blade inflammation. He made 89 pitches and walked one, escaping a bases-loaded jam in the third inning by striking out Curtis Granderson.
"Like he was never on the DL," said catcher A.J. Ellis.
Mattingly said he attributes Ryu's sharpness after a layoff to his simple, repeatable delivery.
"He threw a 'pen [session] after 14 days and threw every pitch exactly where he wanted," Mattingly said. "You get the feeling he's always able to do that. He's a guy that doesn't throw much between starts and he still has that touch."
Ellis said Ryu, perhaps because of his build, doesn't get enough credit for his athleticism.
Ryu said he was "faithful to my rehab" and that he "felt ready mentally" to return. He relied on a refreshed fastball, but also credited a handful of strikeouts to his signature changeup, while Ellis said the backdoor slider emerged in the middle innings and was "a great pitch for him."
He was given just enough runs to work with. Gonzalez provided a 1-0 lead in the second inning. He has a home run in three consecutive games and 12 on the year. Puig has blasts in six of the last 11 games and 10 overall. Ramirez has homered in two of his last three games with seven this season. The home runs by Puig and Ramirez were back to back in the sixth inning off Jacob deGrom, who was making his second Major League start.
"The home run balls hurt him, but I thought he pitched very, very well," Mets manager Terry Collins said of deGrom. "Changed speeds, used his breaking ball very effectively. He's going to be really good. I'll tell you, he has great demeanor on the ball. He knows when he wants to reach back for a little extra, it's there. Impressive kid."
The Dodgers' bullpen that pitched four scoreless innings Tuesday night -- minus Chris Withrow, demoted to make room for Ryu -- took over in the seventh, with scoreless innings from Brandon League and Brian Wilson, then Kenley Jansen earned his 13th save despite allowing a ninth-inning run.
"This is a team the rest of the division doesn't want to see get hot," Wilson said.
Pitching on back-to-back days for the second time this season, Wilson credited his recent improvement to returning to the eighth inning. He was shuffled to less intense assignments because of early season struggles, believed to be related to the compressed Spring Training.
"I'm comfortable where I've been used the last few nights," he said. "High intensity innings are where I feel I thrive. That's what I came here for. I enjoy pitching when the game is on the line and I'm used to it. It's a tough transition when you've pitched one way for such a long time."
In the seventh, League allowed a perfect one-out bunt single by Juan Lagares. With two outs, Puig barely missed a diving catch of David Wright's sinking liner that rolled a few feet behind the right fielder for a double, with Lagares stopping at third as Puig hit cutoff man Gonzalez. League got Chris Young to ground out and end the inning, extending his scoreless-innings streak to 21 1/3.
The Dodgers scored an insurance run in the eighth. Figgins, batting for League, doubled, was bunted to third by Dee Gordon and Puig walked. Ramirez's comebacker was fielded by pitcher Jeurys Familia, who turned but hesitated before throwing to second base, barely forcing Puig while Figgins scored.
The only other Dodgers hit was a double by Matt Kemp leading off the fifth inning, but he was stranded there.