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Ryu leads Dodgers in 4-1 win over Reds

The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- Hyun-Jin Ryu has said repeatedly this season that he basks in the glaring spotlight of Dodger Stadium.

On Saturday night, in the first matchup of South Korea natives since 2010, the lights burned brightly.

Not as brightly as Ryu. He struck out nine, and the Los Angeles Dodgers won their second straight game with a 4-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds and center fielder/leadoff hitter Shin-Soo Choo.

Ryu was masterful up and down the lineup, striking out seven of nine batters (two twice) and allowing nine hits and one run in seven innings. He lowered his home ERA to 1.83 and retired 13 straight at one point as Los Angeles won its ninth game in his last 11 starts and for the eighth time in nine second-half games.

"Our scouts liked him, we liked him, we believed in him," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "But I don't think we really know what to expect. I'd have to say he's been better than expected. ... It seemed like he had a little extra today, that's for sure. We saw him touch 95 today and we don't see that very often. He threw hard early."

With Ronald Belisario, Paco Rodriguez and Kenley Jansen providing relief, the Dodgers retired 19 batters to end the game and Jansen picked up his 14th save.

Fill-in left fielder Skip Schumaker gave Ryu a lift with his second home run of the year, a two-run shot off Reds starter Bronson Arroyo in the fifth inning that broke a 1-1 tie.

"I dreamed about it as a kid, of hitting a home run at Dodger Stadium," Schumaker said. "It doesn't get any better than that for me. I think I was putting pressure on myself at the beginning of the season, trying to prove my worth on a new team, and I just needed to relax. Luckily, Donnie kept giving me an opportunity and threw me in there."

Added Arroyo: "It was a fastball down the middle. Skip has battled me hard as a lot of guys in that Cardinals lineup did for a lot of years. I went down and away with a hard pitch and I thought he'd be trying to pull the ball. He stayed right through it and he hit it out dead center. I really didn't think Skip had that kind of pop in him."

Schumaker, Yasiel Puig and Adrian Gonzalez each had two hits for the Dodgers, who finished with 10 hits.

Arroyo allowed eight hits and three runs in 5 1/3 innings, ending a two-game winning streak.

"The big boys take the pressure off everybody else," Mattingly said. "You're able to get a Schumaker one day, we've had Juan (Uribe) have a big day in San Francisco, A.J. Ellis has had some big days. Mark Ellis has had some big days. We've been able to get production from all over."

In the notable native matchup, Ryu walked Choo to leadoff the game, but Choo finished 0-for-2.

Ryu made easy work of Cincinnati in the early innings, allowing just two hits and one walk through six innings. Ryu notched eight strikeouts through six, though his one of his few mistakes was drilled over the right field wall by Jay Bruce for his 22nd home run of the year and second of the series.

"Ryu looked pretty good, looked very good," Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker said. "It was our first time seeing him; he had a great changeup tonight, threw an occasional breaking ball and his fastball looks even faster when he's throwing those changeups. It's not about how Bronson looked, it's about how Ryu made us look."

Ryu looked especially good after the Dodger Stadium scoreboard flashed South Korean pop sensation Psy, of Gangham Style fame.

"He kept the ball down and we didn't take advantage of his mistakes; he made a lot, we just didn't take advantage," Cincinnati second baseman Brandon Phillips said. "Our first time seeing him, we'll see him again and hopefully we can have more success. But when they showed that Gangham Style dude, man, the Dodgers just got some energy and ran with it.

"I blame him more than anybody."

NOTES: LF Carl Crawford missed Saturday's game because of sickness and was replaced in the lineup by Schumaker. Crawford has a seven-game hitting streak, but Schumaker entered the game with seven hits in his last seven starts as well. ... Bruce's home run was his fourth in two weeks. ... Arroyo's three earned runs marked his worst start since July 7 and only the ninth time in 21 starts that he has allowed at least three runs. ... Choo was also involved in the last matchup between two South Korean natives. As a member of the Cleveland Indians in July 2010, Choo struck out against the New York Yankees' Chan Ho Park. ... The Dodgers' 16-5 record in July currently ranks as their third-best month in Los Angeles history.

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