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LAD@ARI: Ryu strikes out nine over six-plus frames

Hyun-Jin Ryu is getting used to the Major League lifestyle, of pitching in front of encouraging hometown fans in Los Angeles and the not-so-encouraging spectators who greet him on the road.

Jeremy Hefner is learning, too. The 27-year-old right-hander, who made 13 starts for the Mets last year and is trying to get his footing after four appearances (three starts) this season, is going after his first win, and can do it at home.

Ryu doesn't know what will greet him in the Big Apple on Thursday, and Hefner will figure out what it's like to pitch to a power-packed Dodgers lineup.

Ryu has consistency on his side. The left-hander wasn't sparkling his last time out, but he got the win over Arizona despite giving up five runs in six innings. He did, however, pitch at least six innings for the fourth consecutive start, and he had three hits in his last outing. He said that his slider has been increasingly effective of late.

"It's improved over the last couple of games," Ryu said. "I'm utilizing it more, especially against righties. I'm just getting into shape the way I would in Korea. Back to my normal form."

Hefner fell to 0-2 in his most recent start, losing, 7-6, to the Nationals, who had the Majors' best regular-season record last year. He lasted only four innings and gave up three runs on four hits and three walks.

He has struggled -- along with other Mets starters not named Matt Harvey -- early in the season.

Mets manager Terry Collins has cited a troublesome schedule that included three weather postponements, a delayed doubleheader, a long road trip and cold nights in several cities, and he has put Hefner, and others, on irregular rest.

"We just haven't been able to get our guys in a situation where they're feeling comfortable," Collins said.

Dodgers: No concern about Crawford
Outfielder Carl Crawford, hitless in his last 12 at-bats entering Wednesday night's extra-innings loss, did not start that game but entered as a pinch-hitter late and went 0-for-2. But manager Don Mattingly didn't express any worry about the situation and indicated that Crawford would be back in the lineup on Thursday.

"I don't see Carl panicking," Mattingly said. "He's not chasing bad balls. Everything he hit earlier dropped."

• Closer Brandon League suffered his first blown save of the year on Wednesday night in New York. He was previously 11-for-11 in save opportunities as a Dodger and had notched a save in his first three road appearances this season.

Mets: Buck still bashing
Catcher John Buck's 22 RBIs and seven home runs this April are career bests for any calendar month in his career, and he has a chance to break Jeff Kent's 1994 franchise record of 26 April RBIs. Buck is one behind Carlos Beltran (23 in 2007) and Bernard Gilkey (23 in 1996), who are tied for second behind Kent.

• In three career games vs. the Dodgers, all relief appearances, Hefner is 0-0 with a 4.50 ERA.

Worth noting
• Dodgers reliever Paco Rodriguez has limited opponents to a .136 batting average in his career, with 12 strikeouts.

• Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy is hitting .369 with 15 runs scored over his last 16 games.

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