Drama Down Under: Dodgers hold on in Australia
Puig, Gordon, Uribe tally three hits behind Ryu before 'pen struggles
SYDNEY -- Korean pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu, Cuban outfielder Yasiel Puig and Dominican infielder Juan Uribe carried the Dodgers' international banner in the Opening Series finale, leading a 7-5 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks, L.A.'s second in two games in MLB's regular-season lid lifter Down Under.
In front of a crowd of 38,079, Ryu continued what Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw began with an Opening Day win at Sydney Cricket Ground. Ryu allowed two hits in five scoreless innings. He struck out five and walked one, but the bullpen didn't fare as well once the ninth inning rolled along, with Jose Dominguez giving up a Martin Prado two-run double and Kenley Jansen allowing a two-run homer to Mark Trumbo as the D-backs tried to claw back from a six-run deficit in the ninth.
"It's a good start. I guess i should be happy with it," manager Don Mattingly said, but he didn't let his club off the hook for not finishing strong.
"Frustrating game, honestly," he said. "This doesn't play over the course of a season. We let them back in the game and had to use Kenley. We walked seven guys the last four innings. You don't play like this and win.
"The first game I enjoyed, this one not as much. At the end of the day, it's a win, but kind of a frustrating one."
On offense, Ryu singled and scored a run in the third inning, but not before hurting his toenail when he was held up abruptly rounding third base. He stayed in the game, though, and with his brother and best friend in town from Korea to watch, became the first Korean pitcher to win a Major League game overseas.
"Very happy about that fact," said Ryu. "I didn't go as long as I would have liked. I like to go more than five innings."
Ryu (1-0) inherited the start because of a calf injury to Zack Greinke, who will rejoin the club next week.
Puig, 0-for-5 on Saturday, went 3-for-4 with an RBI double, was hit by a pitch, drove in two runs and scored one. That made up for his first two baserunning malfunctions of the young season. The right fielder also made a key catch of an Aaron Hill sinking liner to end the seventh inning with the bases loaded and Paul Goldschmidt on deck.
The Dodgers had baserunners constantly, with 13 hits and eight walks plus three Arizona errors, and they were 5-for-15 with runners in scoring position. Leadoff hitter Dee Gordon joined No. 2 hitter Puig with three hits and an RBI and scored twice, the table setters going 6-for-9. Uribe also had three hits with an RBI.
"You don't want to fly for 14 hours and lose," Gordon said. "I'm just happy to be part of a winning team."
Puig left the game after striking out in the ninth and headed to the clubhouse early with a sore back. Mattingly said he may have an MRI when the club arrives in Los Angeles.
"I don't know. He came out of the game, told Stan [Conte, trainer] something's hurt," Mattingly said. "He plays hard, gets hurt but bounces back. We'll see how he is."
Before the game, Mattingly talked about the bumps and bruises that come with Puig's intensity.
"Seems he gets something every time he swings," Mattingly said. "Like the boy who cries wolf, at some point you never think he's hurt."
Now that the Dodgers have made a triumphant start to the season, it will be suspended for a week. They return to Los Angeles for a few workouts and jet-lag recovery, and a three-game exhibition Freeway Series against the Angels, before the resumption of games that count in San Diego next Sunday night. After platooning Justin Turner and Gordon at second base in Australia, it will be interesting to see what Mattingly decides to do back in the States after the dynamics provided by Gordon and Puig at the top of the order.
"I'll do what I can to be the starting second baseman and show they can trust me to be the guy every day," Gordon said. "They've been preaching to me to play my game. I try to understand what my game is: Hit the ball on the ground, get on base, just pester the other team any way I can."
Mattingly has repeatedly cautioned about the difficulty in flipping the switch on and off between real games and exhibitions, but at least the Dodgers know they will remain unbeaten in the standings for another week.
The Dodgers got Ryu a quick run off Trevor Cahill in the first inning on a one-out single by Puig, a two-out walk to Adrian Gonzalez and an RBI single by Andre Ethier, who was out trying to stretch it into a double. Ethier also drove in the Dodgers' first run Saturday night.
The Dodgers were finally affected by the Southern Hemisphere in the third inning as they started running backward. Ryu led off with a single and Gordon one-hopped the fence in right-center that doubled Ryu to third, Ryu slamming on the brakes when coach Lorenzo Bundy gave a late stop sign.
Puig shot a single into left field that scored Ryu. When Trumbo's throw was cut off, Puig tried for second and was eventually caught in a rundown and tagged sliding back into first. But Gordon never broke for the plate and stayed at third base. Hanley Ramirez walked and Gordon finally scored on Gonzalez's sacrifice fly, giving the Dodgers a 3-0 lead.
The Dodgers' defense fell apart in the fourth inning. Second baseman Gordon mishandled Goldschmidt's searing liner for an error. After Prado struck out looking, Miguel Montero hit a double-play grounder to shortstop Ramirez. He tried to beat Goldschmidt to second instead of flipping to Gordon, but was beaten to the bag by the D-backs slugger, then threw too late to first to get Montero. It was ruled a fielder's choice.
With runners on first and second and no out, Puig made a nice running catch of Trumbo's pop foul down the right-field line for the second out. Ryu took his infield off the hook by catching Gerardo Parra looking on a breaking ball for strike three.
The Dodgers chased Cahill while loading the bases on walks to start the fifth inning, scoring one more run on Mike Baxter's double-play grounder and another on No. 8 hitter Uribe's double off the left-field fence.
Gordon led off the sixth with a bunt single that catcher Montero threw away for an error and he was doubled home by Puig, who later was thrown out at third without a slide trying to advance on a pitch that bounced away from Montero.