Hyun-Jin Ryu did not give up a hit until the fourth inning of the Dodgers'… (Victor Decolongon / Getty…)
The Miami Marlins have the worst record in the National League. Their lineup Saturday night included three position players batting .170 or worse.
But a 7-1 victory at Dodger Stadium over this band of fringe major leaguers transformed the Dodgers' clubhouse.
Music blared over the sound system. Children ran and screamed. Players were smiling.
The eight-game losing streak was over. The last-place Dodgers won for the first time this month, as Hyun-Jin Ryu pitched 6 2/3 innings and Andre Ethier collected four hits.
"You could almost feel it was champagne time in there," Manager Don Mattingly said.
But Mattingly, who has faced questions about his uncertain job status over the last few days, was tempered in his enthusiasm over the win.
"It's hard to be down about this, but it's hard to get too excited at this point," Mattingly said. "If we start putting some games together, then you start feeling better about yourselves."
The Dodgers (14-21) face the Marlins (11-26) again Sunday, but their schedule will present them with significant obstacles in the coming weeks. The Washington Nationals, the defending National League East champions, will visit them for a three-game series that starts Monday. The Dodgers then travel to Atlanta and Milwaukee.
Mattingly's players took a more optimistic view.
"It all starts with one win," said Matt Kemp, who extended his hitting streak to 10 games.
Adrian Gonzalez was pleased by how the Dodgers won. They collected 14 hits and were five for 11 with runners in scoring position.
"Even before the losing streak started, we were talking about how nice it would be to win a game where we're not biting our nails at the end of it," Gonzalez said. "Even the games we were winning were close games."
Most of the Dodgers' runs were driven in by the bottom part of their lineup. No. 7 hitter Skip Schumaker drove in three runs. No. 8 hitter Juan Uribe knocked in two.
But it was Ethier's four-hit performance, which included two doubles, that made Mattingly say, "This is what it should look like."
The first of Ethier's doubles came in the second inning against Marlins starter Kevin Slowey, who posted a 1.81 earned-run average in his previous seven starts. Ethier moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by A.J. Ellis and scored on a single to right field by Schumaker to put the Dodgers up, 1-0.
The margin increased to 3-0 in third inning. Slender shortstop Dee Gordon led off with a solo home run, the second of his career. Gonzalez singled, advanced to third on singles by Kemp and Ethier, and scored on Schumaker's forceout.
Meanwhile, Ryu (4-2) was cruising. He didn't give up a hit until Placido Polanco doubled to lead off the fourth inning.
"Everybody talks velocity," Mattingly said. "You like seeing that. But Hyun-Jin is kind of a master craftsman — locates, changes speeds, takes a little off. When he's on, it's fun to watch."