SAN DIEGO -- On June 22, 2013, the Los Angeles Dodgers held the San Diego Padres to one run at Petco Park and secured a victory that would propel them to one of the best two-month stretches in baseball history.
On June 22 this season, the Dodgers did the same, holding San Diego to a run and clinching a weekend series victory.
Will 41 wins in 49 games follow?
Probably not, but the Dodgers did score two early runs at Petco Park on Sunday and left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu made them hold up in a 2-1 win. And suddenly, the Dodgers have won seven of their past nine games, putting them in contention for the title of hottest team in baseball.
"I think this was bound to happen," Ryu said, through a translator, after Sunday's victory. "This team has so much talent. We went through this last year. We all just woke up and realized there's not that much time left."
The Dodgers (42-35) didn't take a lot of time to score Sunday. Hanley Ramirez, the second batter of the game, singled, stole second and took third on a wild pitch. Adrian Gonzalez promptly grounded out to the Padres pitcher, former Dodger Eric Stults, to drive him in.
Dee Gordon then singled in the second inning to score Scott Van Slyke, who had singled and moved over on an A.J. Ellis walk and a sacrifice bunt from Ryu.
Ryu (9-3) had another dominant, if abbreviated, outing in San Diego, holding the Padres to one run in six innings while allowing four hits and a walk and striking out two.
"Typical Hyun-Jin," Ellis said. "He gives us a chance to win the game."
At Petco in the stateside season opener March 30, Ryu went a little longer, pitching seven scoreless innings.
"It was a good day," Ryu said Sunday. "I'd like to go deeper in the game, but as the game went on, I felt the extra fatigue."
Ryu threw 94 pitches. In relief, left-hander J.P. Howell and right-hander Brian Wilson combined to pitch a hitless seventh and eighth, and closer Kenley Jansen blew away the Padres in the ninth, striking out the side on 13 pitches for his 22nd save.
Jansen pitched on a third straight day for the first time this season but appeared at his best after making changes to his delivery during a Saturday bullpen session watched by Dodgers coaches.
"Today was as good as I've caught him all season," Ellis said.
The Dodgers remain four games behind the National League West-leading San Francisco Giants, who beat Arizona on Sunday.
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