If Hyun-Jin Ryu can come close to matching his last effort on the mound, it will have been worth the wait.
After having his last scheduled start pushed back due to injury, the 26-year- old rookie takes the hill on Friday night for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the second of four straight meetings with the Atlanta Braves.
Ryu has gone 6-2 with a 2.89 earned run average through his first 11 starts this year after signing with the Dodgers in December following six seasons with the Hanwha Eagles of the Korea Baseball Organization. His first major league shutout came on May 28 as he limited the Los Angeles Angels to a pair of hits while striking out seven without a walk in a 3-0 win.
"It was a good night ... my first complete-game shutout," Ryu said through his interpreter. "After the seventh inning, my pitch count wasn't too high and I felt I had good stuff. I didn't walk anybody. I was pretty happy."
The lefty, though, missed his scheduled start on Sunday due to sore left foot and tested the injury with a bullpen session the following day.
Ryu faced the Braves for the first time on May 17 and did not get a decision in his team's 8-5 loss, yielding two runs over five innings.
Atlanta starter Paul Maholm got the win on that day, kicking off a three- decision win streak that has stretched over his past four starts. Maholm allowed four runs versus the Dodgers, but only two were earned over six frames.
The left-hander improved to 2-5 with a 4.72 ERA in 10 career meetings versus Los Angeles and he'll try to extend his winning streak Friday.
Maholm is coming off a win over Washington on Sunday as he allowed three runs -- two earned -- on five hits in six innings. He struck out four without a walk as the 30-year-old moved to 7-4 with a 3.68 ERA in 12 starts this season.
Unlike his last outing versus the Dodgers, Maholm will have to deal with the red-hot Yasiel Puig.
The 22-year-old has been more than impressive over his first four major league games, hitting .438 with nine RBI since being recalled from Double-A Chattanooga. He launched his third homer of the season on Thursday, an eighth- inning grand slam that keyed a 5-0 win.
"Puig is in another world. All he does is hit .500," said Dodgers second baseman Skip Schumaker. "He did it in Spring Training and now he's doing it in the major leagues. This is insane. All I can compare it to is what Mike Trout did last year (with the Los Angeles Angels)."
Los Angeles has won three of four since recalling Puig.
Overshadowed was Zack Greinke's best start for the Dodgers since returning from a broken collarbone. He scattered four hits and three walks while striking out seven over seven scoreless innings. The right-hander had not pitched longer than 5 1/3 frames since the Dodgers activated him from the disabled list on May 15.
The Braves received a solid start out of Tim Hudson, but mustered only seven hits and saw their five-game winning streak come to an end without a registering a hit in four chances with runners in scoring position.
"Hudson was outstanding, you can't do better than that," said Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez. "We don't make many mistakes, but we did today. Hudson was so good, he didn't have one 3-ball count."
Hudson, winless in his last six starts, also went seven innings but surrendered a run on four hits while striking out five.
The Braves swept a three-game set at home versus the Dodgers from May 17-19.