Dodgers rookie starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu looks more than ready for the season to begin.
The 26-year-old South Korean retired all 12 batters he faced Thursday night as the Dodgers defeated the Angels, 3-0, at Angel Stadium in the opener of their three-game exhibition Freeway Series.
Deftly mixing fastballs and off-speed pitches, the left-handed Ryu dispensed with Albert Pujols, Mike Trout and the rest of the Angels with 47 pitches over four innings, 33 of them strikes.
"Tonight was by far my best game of the spring," Ryu said through an interpreter. "I'm just happy to end camp on a good note."
About the closest the Angels came to having a baserunner against Ryu was when Trout hit a ball deep to right-center field in the fourth inning. But Matt Kemp ran it down in front of the warning track.
The Angels did not get their first hit until the sixth inning, when third baseman Alberto Callaspo singled off Dodgers reliever Matt Guerrier.
Angels starter Joe Blanton, who pitched for the Dodgers last year, was just as effective as Ryu, if not perfect. The right-handed Blanton shut out the Dodgers on five hits in his six innings of work.
After returning from Cactus League play in Arizona, the Angels started the game with essentially their opening-day lineup.
But the Dodgers played with a split squad; the rest of the team – including Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford – played an exhibition game in Rancho Cucamonga on Thursday night.
Ryu is the impressive pitcher who had played several years in the Korean league. The Dodgers paid his former team $25.7 million for the exclusive rights to negotiate with him, then signed Ryu to a six-year, $36-million contract.
In Ryu's previous start against the Angels, in Tempe, Ariz., on March 1, he had given up a home run to Josh Hamilton.
When he faced Hamilton on Thursday night in front of a crowd of 30,235, Ryu said, he was just saying, "No home run, please."
Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said, "There's no doubt [Ryu] had much better command tonight" than on March 1. "He was terrific today."
The Dodgers broke a scoreless tie in the seventh inning of Thursday's game on Tim Federowicz's run-scoring single.
They added two runs in the eighth inning on Kemp's RBI-triple and Andre Ethier's sacrifice fly that scored Kemp.