Ryu Hyun-jin suffers 2nd straight loss to Arizona despite strong outing

PHOENIX, Sept. 16 (Yonhap) -- Ryu Hyun-jin of the Los Angeles Dodgers suffered his second straight loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on the road on Monday, despite a strong outing.

Ryu allowed two earned runs on two hits in eight solid innings and struck out four, but the Dodgers fell to the D-Backs 2-1 at Chase Field in Phoenix.

Last Wednesday at Dodger Stadium, Ryu gave up three earned runs on 10 hits in six innings against the same Diamondbacks, taking the loss in LA's 4-1 defeat.

Ryu is now 13-7 in his rookie season. His ERA went down slightly from 3.07 to 3.03. He is 1-2 in five starts versus Arizona with a 4.65 ERA.

The left-hander has pitched at least five innings in each of his 28 starts in 2013, and this was his second-longest outing of the season.

Last week, Ryu allowed two runs in the first inning. And his early inning woes continued in his second straight meeting with the Diamondbacks, as Paul Goldschmidt belted a two-run home run in the bottom of the first.

Ryu has served up 14 home runs this season, and seven of them have come in the first inning. He has an unsightly 5.14 ERA in the first inning this season, with 16 of his 61 earned runs having come in the opening frame.

After Goldschmidt's home run, Ryu retired 19 batters in a row before Aaron Hill lined a single with two outs in the seventh inning.

While Ryu was keeping LA in the game, his teammates provided him with little run support, as Trevor Cahill, Arizona's starter, held the Dodgers to just one single through the first five innings.

The Dodgers got one run in the sixth. Cahill issued three free passes in the frame, including one to Yasiel Puig with the bases loaded that walked in a run.

With one out and bases still full, however, A.J. Ellis struck out swinging and Skip Schumaker grounded out to second against the Diamondbacks' reliever Josh Collmenter.

The Dodgers opened the top of the ninth with two straight single off the Arizona closer Brad Ziegler. But Juan Uribe botched a sacrifice bunt attempt for a force out at third, and Nick Buss grounded out to first and Matt Kemp struck out to end the game.

After the game, Ryu said the game was lost on one pitch to Goldschmidt that was hit for the home run in the first.

"It wasn't a blatant mistake, but the pitch was a bit high," Ryu said. "At least this was the best start I've had recently. I keep giving up runs in the first inning because I try to throw strikes early and hitters keep making contact."

The Dodgers have now lost four in a row but still hold a comfortable 9.5-game lead over the Diamondbacks atop the National League West. For Monday's game, the Dodgers were without injured Carl Crawford, Hanley Ramirez and Andre Ethier. Kemp was activated from the disabled list just before the game. Rookie sensation Yasiel Puig was playing with a sore left hip.

Ryu said once his injured teammates return, the Dodgers should get out of their rare slump. As for himself, Ryu, now second on the team with 181 innings pitched, downplayed concerns that he may be running out of gas, saying he still has plenty left in the tank.

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