The Los Angeles Dodgers have made a habit of using each other’s equipment this season, and on Sunday it amounted to Cody Bellinger lending an assist of sorts to Hyun-Jin Ryu.
With the Dodgers trailing the Colorado Rockies in the fifth inning, Ryu went to right-center field for his first career home run. It not only tied the game but sent the dugout and Dodger Stadium into a frenzy, though Ryu maintained his usual stoic expression as he rounded the bases.
He showed some excitement during a postgame interview, during which Ryu revealed he used Bellinger’s bat on his home run. Later in the same inning, Bellinger hit a grand slam for his 46th home run of the season.
He did so wearing Joc Pederson’s cleats, which Bellinger has taken to doing when wearing high socks with his uniform. Corey Seager has also worn Pederson’s cleats during various points of the year.
Meanwhile, Pederson turned to former teammate Andre Ethier for one of his bats that sent the current Dodgers outfielder on a power display. Pederson said his success had some others on the team interested in requesting more bats from Ethier.
As for Ryu’s moment in the spotlight, the home run ball had been retrieved, was authenticated and enclosed in a protective case. Ryu carried it with him into the interview room.
He joined Matt Beaty, Walker Buehler, Kyle Garlick, Edwin Rios, Will Smith and Gavin Lux as Dodgers to hit their first home run this season. Buehler and Ryu are the club’s only pitchers to do so.
Entering Sunday’s series finale, Ryu had nine career extra-base hits (eight doubles) and 10 RBI.
As for matters on the mound, he allowed three runs over seven innings and had eight strikeouts. The Rockies took a lead on Garrett Hampson’s solo home run in the first inning, which was followed by Ryu retiring 13 of the next 15 batters faced.
After four consecutive starts of failing to complete six innings in four consecutive outings, Ryu has now gone seven frames in back-to-back starts. Also encouraging was the rhythm he found with Will Smith, as the rookie catcher has been the subject of external speculation for being one reason behind the pitching staff’s recent struggles.