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Battle Between Korean Stars Ends in Dodger Victory

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60 years ago today an armistice agreement was signed that effectively ended hostilities on the Korean peninsula. It created the demilitarized zone that hovers around the 38th parallel that continues to divide families. After the armistice agreement, peace treaty talks were supposed to ensue to bring an end to the Korean War. It didn't happen.

So let's celebrate that failure with the first ever showdown between Ryu Hyun-Jin and Choo Shin-Soo!

To be honest, I don't know what the big deal was. Ryu and Choo were teammates during the 2009 World Baseball Classic and the 2010 Asian Games and have never faced off against each other in any level of competition.

The Dodgers credentialed 90 members of the Korean media. The game was aired live in Korea on MBC Sports (local time: 10 a.m. Sunday) for what I guess was supposed to be an epic showdown. Choo walked in his first plate appearance, grounded to first in the third, struck out in the sixth — hardly a gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

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"Overall I felt good today," Ryu said. "I can't deny that because Choo was the first batter I tried to my velocity up."

In fact Ryu did admit to feeling a bit nervous heading into this matchup. "It was my first time facing Choo. I can't deny that it was on my mind."

I suppose no treaty was needed in this matchup: Ryu won this round. In fact Ryu pitched one of his finest games this season going seven innings giving up a run on two hits while striking out nine.

The only two hits: a home run to Jay Bruce to lead off the second inning and a two-out triple to Chris Heisey in the third inning. Ryu got Joey Votto to look at a strike three to ensure Heisey remained on third base.

Ryu lowered his ERA at home to 1.83 while limiting oppposing hitters to .228 at home. On the road the splits are a 4.62 ERA with a .264 batting average. While Mattingly didn't have any explanation for this split, he did notice a tendency in Ryu's "bad" outings.

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"I think we're just paying attention to his breaking stuff as much as anything else," Mattingly said. "Because his fastball command and the changeup is usually pretty good. It's when he's not getting the breaking ball over when we start worrying about him a little bit."

Mattingly saw nothing to worry about in this game.

"He got a couple of strikeouts with sliders," Mattingly said. "The better his breaking ball is, the better his performance."

Ryu provided another possible reason for the big split in his road and home performance.

"The reason why my ERA is higher on the road is probably because of the conditioning due to travel and adjusting to the different time zones," Ryu said. "It's up to me to be able to focus on that in the future."

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Of course Ryu could not win this game alone. There was Hanley Ramirez continuing to do what he has been doing hitting a double in the first inning that scored Yasiel Puig for the early 1-0 lead.

But there was Skip Schumaker who came into the game with 24 home runs in his ninth season crushing a two-run home run to deep centerfield to give the Dodgers the lead for good.

"I dreamt about it as a kid hitting a home run at Dodger Stadium," Schumaker said. "It doesn't get better than that."

It probably doesn't, but he did add a double in the seventh inning and scoring on Adrian Gonzalez's single.

The 4-1 win coupled with the San Diego Padres beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 12-3 gave the Dodgers a 1 1/2 game lead in the NL West.

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Carl Crawford was not in the lineup, taken to the emergency room right before batting practice for a high fever. Mattingly said that Crawford first felt sick Friday morning but felt good to play thanks to antibiotics. He went 3-for-4 in Friday's game.

Reds Scorecard: (click to embiggen)

Dodgers Scorecard: (click to embiggen)