LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers began the season Down Under in Australia. They've arrived at the All-Star break on top of the NL West.
Hyun-Jin Ryu struck out 10 and outpitched first-time All-Star Tyson Ross, Yasiel Puig singled home the only run and Los Angeles beat the San Diego Padres 1-0 on Sunday.A day after beating the Padres 1-0, the Dodgers did it again to take a one-game lead over San Francisco in the division race. They have overcome a 9 1/2-game deficit for the second year in a row despite numerous injuries."I think it's a testament to the work that our front office has done, gathering this group of people," said A.J. Ellis, who hit a winning sacrifice fly in the ninth Saturday night."I think everybody knows from last year's experience that it takes more than 25 guys to get where you want to go. And it's about having the right people in those spots.""We kind of knew that this would all turn around and that the people in this room were capable of it. So we never lost that confidence, and I think we did a good job of sticking together," he said.Puig was ejected Saturday night for arguing a called third strike. He struck out his first two times up Sunday, then hit an RBI single in the sixth inning after Dee Gordon singled and stole his major league-leading 43rd base.Ryu (10-5) gave up two hits in six innings without a walk. The left-hander retired his first 11 batters and allowed only one hit through the first five innings, a two-out single in the fourth by Carlos Quentin. The Padres' only other hit against him was a leadoff single through the box by Alexi Amarista in the sixth."He had everything working from the get-go, all four pitches," Ellis said. "He used both of his breaking balls so effectively, and this was as strong a slider as I've seen him throw this season."J.P. Howell relieved Brandon League in the seventh with runners at first and second and retired Brooks Conrad on a lineout.Kenley Jansen struggled to get his 27th save. He struck out striking out Jake Goebbert with runners at the corners, then fanned pinch-hitter Seth Smith to end it after a visit from manager Don Mattingly."Basically, he just told me to go with my best stuff, be aggressive and attack them. And that's what I did," Jansen said.Ross (7-10) gave up six hits in seven innings, striking out nine and walking one.The Dodgers scored when Gordon singled with one out in the sixth and stole second. After Carl Crawford walked, Puig singled to center."I felt a little tired in the sixth, made a couple of mistakes, and they capitalized on them," Ross said. "I'm continuing to learn and develop, and next time around I won't make those mistakes. Puig hit a slider that kind of backed up on me. He's a big, strong guy and he basically muscled it through the infield."
Puig hasn't tried to steal a base in his last 26 games, and has been thrown out on his last three attempts. He is 7 for 14 this season and only 18 for 33 in the majors -- 55 percent. "We know Yasiel is fast, but he hasn't proven to this point that he really knows how to steal a base," Mattingly said. "I've seen a lot of guys that are fast who really don't know how to steal bases. The goal is not to get thrown out. I mean, if the base is there to be stolen, and the situation is right, then we're going to allow him to run. If not, we're not going to be running with him because we don't want to give up outs." ... Puig, a first-time All-Star, goes into the break with a .309 average -- 38 points lower than it was on June 1 -- and has struck out seven times in his last 14 at-bats. ... The Padres' rotation coming out of the All-Star break will be Ian Kennedy, Ross and Odrisamer Despaigne for the home series with the Mets, and Eric Stults for the opener against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
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LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 13: Yasiel Puig #66 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts to his strikeout during the first...