Hyun-Jin Ryu and Stephen Strasburg produced a second consecutive pitcher’s duel at Dodger Stadium that saw the Los Angeles Dodgers bounce back with a 6-0 win to split a four-game series with the Washington Nationals.
Ryu built on his complete-game shutout to retire the first 10 batters faced. His perfect game was lost on a walk of Brian Dozier with one out in the fourth inning. Aside from the fact that it prevented Ryu from making history, it was an anomaly.
The walk was only Ryu’s third this season and his first at home since Aug. 26, 2018. He’s attributed that to learning at a young age how costly a walk can be, and putting Dozier aboard appeared to agitate Ryu as he walked around the mound before continuing to pitch.
Whatever frustration may have set in quickly dissipated as he struck out Juan Soto on three pitches and retired Anthony Rendon to end the inning. Ryu nearly lost his no-hitter when Strasburg hit a line drive into right field.
Bellinger sprinted to his left and threw a strike to Max Muncy at first base just in time. The Nationals challenged the call but to no avail. Part of the drama that was building involved Ryu’s pitch count.
Though, the Dodgers appeared willing to give him an opportunity to complete the no-hitter as Ryu hit for himself in the bottom of the seventh. It became a moot point when Gerardo Parra added to his history against the Dodgers with a one-out, ground-rule double in the eighth inning.
So Ryu settled for nine strikeouts over eight shutout innings, marking a fourth consecutive start he went at least seven frames. Additionally, Ryu’s 116 pitches set a career high (previously 114).
Great as Ryu was, Strasburg was nearly just as impressive. The Dodgers’ first run came by way of Bellinger drawing a walk and stealing second base. Alex Verdugo’s productive out advanced Bellinger, and Corey Seager’s sacrifice fly gave the Dodgers a 1-0 lead in the second inning.
The first hit of the game didn’t come until Justin Turner’s blooper into center field. Bellinger
followed with a single and moved into scoring position when the throw went to third base. Verdugo’s high chopper got over Strasburg’s head, forcing Dozier to make the play on an RBI groundout.
The two runs were all Strasburg allowed over six innings. Corey Seager tacked on insurance with a grand slam in the eighth inning, which was a welcomed sight considering his ongoing struggles.