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New Dodgers' pitcher Ryu keeps promise, L.A. sweeps Pirates

The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- Hyun-Jin Ryu proved on Sunday afternoon that a promise can travel almost 6,000 miles.

The Los Angeles Dodgers' new starter bounced back from an average first outing to win his first Major League game as the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-2 on Sunday afternoon at Dodger Stadium.

With the win, the Dodgers completed a three-game sweep as three starters shut down the Pirates in consecutive outings.

"It feels very good; I'm just happy the team won," Ryu said. "I made a few promises to some people back in Korea that I'd get my first win today. I'm just happy I kept my promise."

The 25-year-old lefthander, one of Los Angeles' prize offseason acquisitions after signing a $36-million contract that wooed him away from the Hanwha Eagles of the Korean Baseball Organization, lived up to his promise on Sunday.

Ryu threw 6 1/3 innings of three-hit ball, settling down after allowing an early home run. Ryu had six strikeouts and two walks and threw 67 of his 101 pitches for strikes.

"After that first inning, he was good," Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly said. "Those first two innings (he was) getting settled in, getting used to the mound, getting used to the flow of the game. A lot of times with the good ones, if you don't get them early, you don't get them."

Unlike Ryu's first start, when the Dodgers were shut out 3-0 by the San Francisco Giants, the Los Angeles lineup lit up a Pittsburgh staff that had been off to an impressive start.

Adrian Gonzalez went 3-for-4 with four RBI after have just one RBI in his first four games as he builds off a strong 2012 campaign. Last year, he batted .392 with runners in scoring position and finished tied for seventh in all of baseball with 108 RBI.

The Dodgers finished with 11 hits, particularly banging around Pittsburgh starter Jeff Locke. Locke went 6 1/3 innings, allowing eight hits and four runs while striking out three."

"He looks like he's getting better and better," Mattingly said of Gonzalez. "He hit a lefty today, and our at-bats were better today. That was a big hit in the first because we got to strike back on the board. It's kind of like a do-over."

Added Locke: "You know who you're facing coming in. That's a good ballclub. Similar to us, they probably haven't put out the same offensive output they'd like to this season. We knew coming into the game, they wanted to hit. I feel like I made some really great pitches today, some that were hit."

Justin Sellers added a solo home run for his first hit of the year to open the bottom of the seventh inning for the Dodgers. Starling Marte went 2-for-4 with a run scored for the Pirates, but he was the only Pittsburgh batter with two hits.

Los Angeles built a small lead midway through the game on the strength of timely hitting and the speed of Carl Crawford.

Crawford scored on a Matt Kemp sacrifice fly in the third inning to break a 2-2 tie and on a Gonzalez RBI single in the fifth inning.

"There's only really one pitch in my mind that stands out to me, the double that Kemp hit in the first," Locke said. "That kind of thing -- I'm not going to say it took the wind out of the sails -- but he's a good hitter and that double really put them in position to get something going early."

Ryu got off to a much faster start against the Pirates than he did in his season-opening loss to the Giants, when he allowed 10 hits. Ryu had five strikeouts and allowed just three hits in the first six innings, though Pittsburgh's second hit was a big one.

Andrew McCutchen smashed a Ryu offering over the left field wall for a two-run home run in the first inning.

"I warmed up. I can't make any excuses for that," Ryu said. "It was just the wrong pitch at the wrong time. As the game went on, I was able to focus in a little bit more."

The Dodgers responded in the bottom of the inning on Gonzalez's two-run double that scored Kemp and Nick Punto.

NOTES: Los Angeles won the first two games of the series by a combined score of 4-0, including win No. 600 under general manager Ned Colletti on Saturday. ... The Pirates went 0-3 at Dodger Stadium in 2012 and were riding an eight-game road losing streak against the Dodgers since 2011. ... Locke was fantastic in spring training, finishing 3-1 with a 2.63 ERA in seven appearances (six starts). Locke showed promise late last season, picking up his first win in his final start of the season against Atlanta on Oct. 1. ... Pittsburgh dropped its first five road games last season. ... Entering the game, the Pirates were the only team in the Majors to not allow three runs in a game.
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