LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Ladies and gentlemen, Hanley Ramirez is back.
On Ramirez’ own bobblehead night, Dodger fans were looking to the 29-year-old shortstop to provide a spark after the club’s recent momentum was snuffed out by a 12-2 shellacking at the hands of the division leading Colorado Rockies on Monday.
The spark was already there, but Ramirez certainly fanned the flames with his first home run of the season and added a double, while Hyun-Jin Ryu struck out 12 through six innings as the Dodgers evened up with the Rockies 6-2 on Tuesday.
It was the most strikeouts by a Dodger rookie since Hideo Nomo in 1995.
And as Vin Scully pointed out, the stadium sounded “more like a Friday night, not a Tuesday.”
Ryu gave up a solo home run to Carlos Gonzalez in the first inning, after striking out the first two batters. It was the first home run Ryu has given up to a left-handed hitter this season. Ryu, who was coming off his best outing in the majors, recovered by getting his third strikeout of the inning, Michael Cuddyer.
The Dodgers were in business in the bottom of the inning, with Jerry Hairston, standing in for the hot-hitting Carl Crawford who was out with a tight hamstring, singling to center, and then Nick Punto slid into first and reached on a beautifully laid-down bunt single.
Matt Kemp put some minds at ease as the next batter, smacking an 0-2 pitch into left center to tie the game at 1 and giving Kemp his 11th RBI. The Dodgers would take the lead on a sacrifice fly by Adrian Gonzalez.
The Dodgers jumped on Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa and extended the lead to 4-1 in the second inning after Hairston again singled, this time scoring Juan Uribe, and Punto singled, again, this time scoring Hairston.
Ramirez hit an absolute moonshot into the left field stands in the third inning, his first home run of the year, to introduce the big bat that the club has missed so dearly in this young season.
Even Ryu joined the fun, connecting on a fastball for an RBI single to right that scored Andre Ethier and gave the Dodgers a five-run lead.
Among the fans treated by Ryu’s incredible performance was a group of Korean fans, wearing letters on their shirts to spell out “R-Y-U”. Every time Ryu got a strikeout, not to mention his RBI single, they danced and shouted — a perfect representation of how Ryu’s game is bringing a new wave of fans to baseball. Even South Korean pop star, Psy, made an appearance at Dodger Stadium in the fourth inning of the ball game.
After nights like the Dodgers had on Monday, the best thing fans can do is sit back, watch the club go to work, and enjoy the ride through the Southern California summer, and into fall.
As Scully said in the first inning of Tuesday night’s game, “We’re just starting, that’s all.”