Originally posted on Fox Sports West
By MICHAEL MARTINEZ  |  Last updated 8/14/13
LOS ANGELES The importance of the moment wasn't lost on Hyun-Jin Ryu. He knew exactly whom he was facing Tuesday night. He knew the kind of pitching performance he needed to keep the Dodgers moving forward at their electric pace. Like everything else that has been going so well these days, Ryu gave them just what they were expecting. Facing New York Mets right-hander Matt Harvey, whose season has been one tick below Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw, Ryu rose impressively in a 4-2 win at Dodger Stadium. Ryu pitched seven innings and allowed just a first-inning home run to Juan Lagares. Then Ryu held the Mets scoreless through the next six. If the Dodgers had a game plan to beat Harvey, who came in with a 2.09 ERA after throwing his first career shutout five days earlier, it had more to do with Ryu than with the offense. "Ryu is the game plan," manager Don Mattingly said. "Hyun-Jin is the game plan when you've got a guy like Harvey out there. So the plan is basically to stay in the game, and Hyun-Jin was obviously up to the challenge." So is everyone else. The win extended the Dodgers' winning streak to a season-best seven in a row and gave them a 22-3 record since the All-Star break. Their 39-8 record over their past 47 games was last done by the 1951 Giants a lifetime ago. "The run is special, absolutely," infielder Nick Punto said. "But when you're in it, you're not thinking about it." Thinking might ruin this magical trip they're on. No deficit is too big, no opponent is too intimidating. Harvey had a 0.91 ERA in his previous four starts, and the 1-0 lead he had after one inning should have felt like 10-0. But as Ryu went on lockdown, the Dodgers' offense came to life. Punto hit a two-run double in the fifth after Harvey walked A.J. Ellis and Juan Uribe singled. One inning later, Ellis' two-run single brought home two more. "One run is really not that big of a deal, even with that guy," Mattingly said of the early hole the Dodgers were in. "I don't really care who it is at that point. He's a good pitcher, but he's beatable, and it goes back to your pitcher keeping you in the game." Ryu is 12-3 with a 2.91 ERA, and the Dodgers have won each of his past nine starts. If it weren't for his teammate, Yasiel Puig, Ryu might be the leading candidate for National League rookie of the year. The Dodgers left-hander was well aware of the pitching matchup, but he knew it was up to him to keep the Mets in check. "I tried not to think about it too much," Ryu said. "It's not like the two pitchers are battling each other, but yeah, after that one run I decided I needed to try and limit them after that." From the second inning to the seventh, the Mets got one runner as far as second base and another as far as third. But each time, Ryu nailed down the outs he needed to limit New York's offense. "That's how you beat a good pitcher, is basically stay in the game, give yourself a chance to score and keep the game close," Mattingly said. "Hyun-Jin was great today. I was looking forward to how he would respond to this matchup. He pitched well and I was expecting this tonight." But Mattingly refuses to get too caught up in the Dodgers' streak or their record. That's something to savor later, he said. "At the end of the year, looking back, it's something you can be proud of," he said. "And we should be proud. They've played good baseball for a long period of time. But it's not really what we're here to do. "It's nice. If it gets us where we want to go, then that part's nice."
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