Saturday, July 13, 2024

Dodgers’ Julio Urias leads one-hit shutout of Mets

Must read

NEW YORK — The Dodgers sure could use a guy like that.

Dodgers left-hander Julio Urias’ first half of the season did not fit with his profile of an emerging ace – or do much to enhance the payday he is headed toward in free agency. His first game back after a stint on the injured list with a hamstring injury wasn’t much to look at either.

But Urias was dominant Friday night, holding the New York Mets – a possible future employer? – to one hit over six scoreless innings as the Dodgers returned from the All-Star break with a 6-0 victory.

With the Arizona Diamondbacks losing in Toronto, the Dodgers moved into sole possession of first place in the National League West.

“He said it best. He said his vacation’s over,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Urias’ comment in the dugout after the sixth inning. “Just the way he threw the baseball, he was in complete command tonight.”

Urias has now put together back-to-back starts that live up to the standard he set the past two seasons. He has allowed just two runs on four hits while striking out 15 in 12 innings over his past two starts.

Friday was Urias’ first scoreless outing since April 4 and only the second in 13 starts this season. He had seven last season.

With the Dodgers’ starting rotation in tatters and propped up by three rookies, the Dodgers need Urias to channel that performance every five days until further notice.

“If you look at where we’re at right now, where our ballclub is, the pitching staff, I think he’s smart enough to understand his role on this ballclub,” Roberts said. “He’s had a front-row seat to how to take responsibility and how to carry a team on your day to start from Clayton (Kershaw). I definitely think he feels that.”

Urias probably also feels a sense of relief that his first half is over. He reached the All-Star break with a 4.76 ERA.

“You just try to take the positives,” Urias said in Spanish. “Getting hurt is negative, but it’s also positive that it wasn’t my arm. Now I feel good. My leg feels good and everything is on track to allow me to have the second half that I want. I just have to forget the first half and focus on the second half because this team is looking to do big things and that’s what I’m focused on.”

Urias managed to turn in that scoreless performance despite giving up a leadoff home run to Brandon Nimmo in the first inning. Nimmo’s drive hit the top of the wall in right-center field and was initially ruled a home run.

The call was overturned on replay, leaving Nimmo with a double – and giving Urias a mulligan.

He took advantage of it, retiring 11 of the next 12 batters and not giving up another hit in his six innings. The Mets had three more baserunners – a walk, a hit batter and a catcher’s interference call – against Urias, but none advanced past first base.

“I think I haven’t done a good job of attacking and throwing first-pitch strikes,” said Urias, who started 15 of the 22 batters he faced with a strike on Friday. “I think I’ve missed that this season and I think these last two starts, I’ve made a lot of adjustments to fix that. Being ahead of the hitters is important to me and I think throwing a quality first strike is a big deal.”

The Dodgers’ offense didn’t have trouble getting to first base against Mets starter Justin Verlander – despite not getting a hit until the fifth inning.

Verlander (who has thrown three no-hitters in his career) walked six, including three in a row with one out in the fifth inning, before he gave up the Dodgers’ first hit of the game, a sinking liner to left by Mookie Betts that drove in their first run. Freddie Freeman followed with a two-run double.

“I felt like we grinded the whole game, gave him some tough at-bats and were able to cash in,” Betts said.

They kept adding on after Verlander left the game. Miguel Rojas drove in a run with a two-out RBI single in the sixth. J.D. Martinez hit a solo home run in the eighth and James Outman led off the ninth with a double, working his way around to score.

Outman was on base four times in the game – two walks, a single and a double – and scored twice.

“The last five to seven games, I think he’s controlled the strike zone much better,” Roberts said of Outman, who is 9 for 27 over his past eight games. “I think his swing is in a much better place, where I think before he was in-between a lot – in front of breaking balls, late on fastballs. Right now, he’s seeing the baseball better and taking much better at-bats.”

Yency Almonte, Caleb Ferguson and Ryan Brasier combined to retire the final nine Mets in order, closing out the one-hitter.

More articles

Latest article