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Ryu's solid start earns fourth victory

LOS ANGELES -- Matt Kemp was screaming along with Bono to "Beautiful Day" in the clubhouse while Don Mattingly was saying "it felt like it was almost champagne time."

That's the relief one win can bring when it snaps an eight-game losing streak, as the Dodgers did with a 7-1 victory over the Marlins Saturday night.

Of course, when your job is riding in the balance, one win isn't enough, and Mattingly knows it.

"It's hard to be too excited about this," Mattingly said. "We have to put games together, and then we'll start feeling better."

The winning formula featured Hyun-Jin Ryu taking a shutout into the seventh inning, four hits from Andre Ethier, three RBIs from Skip Schumaker and the first home run from Dee Gordon. Kemp was in a good enough mood afterward to joke with Gordon that they're tied in home runs. Some joke.

And there were defensive gems all night, from diving catches in the outfield by Ethier and Carl Crawford to a diving, run-saving stop by Schumaker at second base.

Schumaker owns a World Series ring from Tony La Russa's 2011 Cardinals team, which struggled like the Dodgers before riding a Wild Card berth to a title. He and his teammates know that with every loss, speculation increases about Mattingly's job security.

"It's so bad when the manager takes the heat when the players aren't producing," said Schumaker. "This is 100 percent on us. We're not only down, but we're ticked off. The wrong guys are taking the heat. A lot of people come after the manager or coaches. They should be firing us. It has nothing to do with them."

Nobody's firing Ryu. He again stepped up for his team-high fourth win, three of them following losses. He allowed a home run on a high changeup to Miguel Olivo leading off the seventh inning, but he was able to get two more outs before being lifted at 114 pitches.

"Ryu set the tone and gave us a chance," said Mattingly. "He's a master craftsman, the way he changes speeds. He's fun to watch."

As if stopping an eight-game losing streak wasn't responsibility enough, Ryu said he had the added pressure of pitching in front of his mother, who was celebrating her birthday on the eve of Mother's Day. Nonetheless, he continued his streak of pitching at least six innings every start, joining Don Sutton and Claude Osteen as the only pitchers to start their Los Angeles Dodgers career with six or more innings pitched in each of the first eight starts.

"Six or seven innings should be the norm for a starting pitcher, that's what I consider even back in Korea," said Ryu, who added that an extra day of rest, because of Thursday's day off, helped.

"When [Clayton] Kershaw and Ryu are on the mound for us, you feel like you have a really good chance to win the game," said catcher A.J. Ellis. "Those guys go deep and really limit the production of the other team. Tonight we were able to tack on runs and get some separation."

For the first time this month, the Dodgers seemed to have fun on the field, even more fun than the dogs in the pavilion were having celebrating Bark in the Park.

OK, not everyone had fun. Adrian Gonzalez, who went 2-for-4, left the game in the eighth inning to give his strained neck a few innings off. The injury isn't preventing him from hitting, but he is really laboring running the bases and playing defense, acknowledging that running for balls in the air is the worst.

"It's there," said Gonzalez. "It gets better every day. But once I start running or throwing and moving it, the pain starts and gets worse and worse. I've got to deal with more pain as the game progresses."

Ethier, whose pull swing was the subject of a pregame challenge by the manager, unleashed two doubles and two singles on the Marlins. His .403 lifetime average against them includes three four-hit games, but after his last hit, he scored on Juan Uribe's single and returned to the dugout limping from a toe bruise he suffered slamming into the cement wall chasing a foul ball.

"Dre had four great at-bats," said Ellis. "One of highlights for me as a player has been hitting behind Andre in the on-deck circle at Dodger Stadium, it's such a pretty picture for me from the side when he squares a ball up, it's fun to watch."

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