Korean pop star PSY was at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday night so it was fitting that countryman Hyun-Jin Ryu found his own rhythm early.
Ryu had a career-best 12 strikeouts in six innings and Hanley Ramirez homered in his first start of the season, leading the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 6-2 win over the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night.
”I’m just very thankful the game turned out the way it did,” Ryu said through an interpreter. ”It would’ve been a really different situation if it went the other way. I’m glad he (PSY) came by.”
Carlos Gonzalez gave the Rockies a 1-0 lead in the first inning with a home run – but it didn’t last long.
Ryu (3-1) was in control throughout most of his outing. After giving up the home run to Gonzalez, he retired 14 of the next 15 batters he faced. His only blemish during that stretch was a one-out walk to Gonzalez in the fourth inning.
”He pitched well,” said Jordan Pacheco, who struck out three times against Ryu. ”It does make it difficult when you haven’t faced a guy. You don’t really know his tendencies or what he likes to go to. But at the same time, he hasn’t faced you so it goes both ways.”
Ryu put an end to the threat and his night with one of his strikeouts of Pacheco. The 12 strikeouts overall were the most by a Dodgers rookie since Hideo Nomo fanned 13 on Aug. 20, 1995 at Shea Stadium in New York.
”He was really good,” Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. ”He had his A-game and it was going to be tough to put together a big inning or put together something big against him. He was in control.”
Ramirez, who had been sidelined after undergoing thumb surgery in the offseason, highlighted his return with a solo home run in the third inning.
The Dodgers countered with a run-scoring single by Matt Kemp and a sacrifice fly by Adrian Gonzalez in the bottom half of the first, then added to the lead in the second when Jerry Hairston Jr., a late replacement for Carl Crawford, singled home Juan Uribe from second base. Hairston took second when left fielder Michael Cuddyer tried to throw Uribe out at home.
Crawford was scratched from the lineup with tightness in his right hamstring but will likely be back in left field Wednesday.
Nick Punto’s second hit in as many innings scored Hairston and gave the Dodgers a 4-1 lead. Ramirez’s home run provided the Dodgers with a four-run cushion.
The Dodgers extended the third inning when Andre Ethier doubled and scored on a hit by Ryu.
The Rockies had to have some sense of what awaited them. Kemp entered the game with a .435 batting average against Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa (2-3). Punto raised his batting average against De La Rosa to .538 with his hit in the second inning.
De La Rosa saw his career record against the Dodgers fall to 0-8.
”It’s like they know what’s coming,” said De La Rosa, who had logged quality starts in his four previous outings. ”I have to do something different the next time I face them.”
The Rockies tried to mount a comeback in the sixth inning. Dexter Fowler reached on an infield hit with one out, and scrambled to second when Josh Rutledge grounded out to third. Fowler stole third before scoring on a double to right field by Cuddyer.
Ronald Belisario wasn’t as efficient as Ryu on the mound, allowing two runners to reach base in the seventh, but he recovered in time to strike Fowler out to end the inning.
Notes: Dodgers LHP Clayton Kershaw, on bereavement leave after his father died Sunday, is expected to rejoin the team and pitch Friday against the Giants. . The Dodgers recalled RHP Javy Guerra from Triple-A Albuquerque and optioned pitcher Josh Wall to the same team. . Rockies C Wilin Rosario did not play after taking a foul ball off his right foot the previous night. . Dodgers LHP Ted Lilly underwent MRI exams on his neck and right rib cage Monday. He received an injection in his rib cage and will be re-examined on Wednesday. South Korean music star PSY was at Dodger Stadium to meet with fellow countryman Ryu on Tuesday. Ryu gave his game-worn jersey to the pop star after the game.