Baseball / Sports

Dodgers ride Ryu's return to 4-3 win over Mets

NEW YORK -- They've put the band back together.

Despite being outhit, 13-5, the Los Angeles Dodgers rode left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu's return from the disabled list to a 4-3 victory over the New York Mets on Wednesday night.

Ryu was making his first start since April 27 after experiencing a sore shoulder. But he held the Mets scoreless through the first five innings, extending his scoreless streak on the road to 33 innings. He also struck out eight in the first four innings on his way to a season-high nine strikeouts.

"This went the way we wanted. Hyun-Jin threw the ball well," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "He was sharp, kind of the way we thought he'd be."

And the Dodgers' starting rotation is kind of the way they thought it would be. Ryu's return means the Dodgers have gone through their projected five-man rotation for the first time. Four of the five have been injured already and three -- Clayton Kershaw, Josh Beckett and Ryu -- have spent time on the DL.

At the same time, the Dodgers have won back-to-back games for only the second time since a compacted three-game sweep in Minnesota (April 30-May 1) and are guaranteed of winning a series for only the third time in the past nine.

They are modest achievements for a team picked by many to rule the National League this season. But the combination was enough to cause visions of positive momentum to dance in the Dodgers' heads.

"This is a team the rest of the division doesn't want to see get hot," Dodgers reliever Brian Wilson said after pitching a scoreless eighth inning in back-to-back games. "If we can finish this series strong and carry that over into Philadelphia, this team might just catch fire again."

Wednesday's win didn't qualify as a four-alarm blaze. Adrian Gonzalez hit a home run for the third consecutive game. Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez hit back-to-back homers in the sixth.

But they needed an insurance run in the eighth courtesy of the Mets to make the difference. Chone Figgins led off with a pinch-hit double and scored when the Mets botched a potential inning-ending double play.

OLIVO SUSPENDED

Veteran catcher Miguel Olivo was placed on the suspended list by Triple-A Albuquerque on Wednesday, a day after he brawled with teammate Alex Guerrero in the team's dugout during a game and apparently bit off a large chunk of Guerrero's left ear.

The Dodgers issued a statement saying Olivo will remain on the suspended list "pending the completion of an investigation" into the incident.

Olivo and Guerrero fought during the eighth inning of the Isotopes' game in Salt Lake City on Tuesday. Guerrero was hospitalized Tuesday and underwent plastic surgery on his ear. He remains on the Isotopes' active roster at this point, though it is not known when he will return to the field.

Salt Lake City police investigated the incident and interviewed witnesses. No legal action is pending, however, unless Guerrero elects to press charges.

The incident came at an inopportune time for Guerrero, who was left missing both a piece of his ear and an opportunity.

Dodgers third baseman Juan Uribe was placed on the disabled list Wednesday because of a strained right hamstring, and shortstop Erisbel Arruebarrena was promoted from Double-A. That promotion likely would have gone to Guerrero if he was available to play. The Dodgers had begun to move him into more of a multi-position utility role at Albuquerque in anticipation of a promotion to their bench.

Instead, Arruebarrena was promoted for the purpose of spelling Hanley Ramirez at shortstop. The promotion will have no effect on third base, where Justin Turner and Chone Figgins will fill in until Uribe returns. Arruebarrena is almost exclusively a shortstop, though Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said they will "look at" Arruebarrena at second base during workouts.

And Arruebarrena is almost exclusively a defensive player. His glove work is prized, but the Cuban infielder offers little offensively. He was 11 for his last 29 at Double-A Chattanooga -- raising his average for the season to .208. Mattingly referred to Arruebarrena's offense as "a work in progress."

"Plain and simple, this kid has picked it up," Mattingly said. "We feel he's going to catch it and he's going to cover. That's what we like the most."

Plain and simple, Ramirez has not done well this year. His seven errors rank third among major league shortstops, his fielding percentage (.958) is 24th and both his UZR and defensive-WAR rating (two metrics used to rate overall defensive performance) are the worst of any everyday shortstop in the National League.

Asked if he has been satisfied with Ramirez's defense at shortstop this season, Mattingly said he has been satisfied with "Hanley's work."

"What do you want me to say with that?" Mattingly said. "Hanley works every day. I don't feel I'm getting any lack of effort in any way, shape or form with Hanley, and he is what he is. We knew going into the season. I can't fault Hanley in any way for his effort and his work."

Mattingly emphasized again that moving Ramirez to third base -- something he acknowledged this spring is inevitable at some point -- is not an option at this time.

"We've always talked about not moving Hanley back and forth," Mattingly said. "Obviously, Juan is not going to be a permanent situation. ... Hanley has always said he'll do whatever we want him to do. But he doesn't want to go back and forth. It's tough on him."

ROOM FOR RYU

The Dodgers activated left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu from the DL so he could start Wednesday's game against the New York Mets. The Dodgers had limited roster flexibility, however. Of the relievers, only closer Kenley Jansen and hard-throwing right-hander Chris Withrow have options and can be sent to the minors without passing through waivers.

Withrow was the obvious choice and he was optioned to Albuquerque.

"Really for him, it's a numbers game more than anything else -- the fact that he's got options and we're in a little bit of a box along those lines," Mattingly said. "Secondary for him, he's also on a usage path that puts him farther down the road than he's ever been. And we do think there's areas that he can still improve. But it wasn't an easy (roster move)."

Over 20 appearances, Withrow had a 2.95 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 21 1/3 innings. But he also had 18 walks and a 7.6 walk rate per nine innings that was second on the team only to Brian Wilson's 8.2.

(c)2014 The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.)

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