A matchup billed as a potential World Series preview turned into a lopsided affair as the New York Yankees chased Hyun-Jin Ryu en route to beginning Players Weekend with an emphatic 10-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers to snap a four-game losing streak.
Aside from the history between two of baseball’s glamour franchises, Friday’s game pitted strength against strength. The Yankees entered play leading the Majors in runs scored, while the Dodgers had allowed the fewest.
Ryu demonstrated why that’s the case by stranding runners on second and third base in the second inning. Though, he did benefit from Didi Gregorious misreading a pitch in the dirt and failing to break for home on a play he likely would’ve scored.
What seemed significant in the moment wound up but a mere footnote. Aaron Judge broke the scoreless tie with a solo home run in the third inning, and two batters later Gary Sanchez dropped to his knee on a swing that also lined the ball over the fence in left-center field.
The home run was Sanchez’s 100th in 355 career games, making him the fastest to reach the century mark in American League history. That additionally was the first time Ryu allowed two homers at Dodger Stadium since June 22, 2017.
Fighting a soaring pitch count, the wheels came unhinged for Ryu in the fifth inning. The decision to intentionally walk Sanchez with one out back fired, as Gregorious drove the first pitch he saw for a grand slam. He later tacked on a solo home run.
A double followed, and the normally-steady southpaw was knocked out of the game at just 4.1 innings. Adam Kolarek allowed an RBI double before he could get the Dodgers out of the inning.
The three home runs and seven earned runs charged to Ryu matched combined totals from his previous 11 starts at Dodger Stadium. The grand slam was the first Ryu allowed in his career.
What he did manage to excel in was retiring Gleyber Torres in three at-bats. That changed in the sixth inning when Torres joined in on the home run party by tagging Yimi Garcia for a solo shot.
Meanwhile, James Paxton overpowered the Dodgers lineup to the tune of 11 strikeouts over 6.2 innings. He held Will Smith and Cody Bellinger to a combined 0-for-6 with six strikeouts.
The Dodgers’ first run came on A.J. Pollock’s RBI single that found a hole in the shift and cut the deficit in half in the third inning. They scored again in the seventh on Kiké Hernandez’s double against Tommy Kahnle that brought home Chris Taylor, who had an extra-base hit of his own off Paxton earlier in the inning.