Julio Urias showed improvement his second time out, but still proved to be no match, yet, for the best team in baseball. Chicago slugged three home runs against Urias to put the game away in a 7-2 win over the Dodgers on getaway day Thursday afternoon at Wrigley Field.
The first two runs for the Cubs had to be maddening for Urias, who saw a walk followed by two softly hit singles, exacerbated by a bobble from Joc Pederson in center field. But while that, the only damage against Urias in the first three innings, was a series of paper cuts, the real bleeding was about to begin.
With a runner on in the fourth inning, Urias threw two straight changeups to Javier Baez, the second one eminently punishable as it drifted over the plate. Baez didn't miss, driving the ball into the back of the bleachers in left field for a 4-0 Chicago advantage.
Trayce Thompson got the Dodgers on the board with a solo home run in the fifth inning, his eighth of the season.
But then back-to-back pitches in the bottom of the inning put the game away. First, Jason Heyward drove a ball into the seats in right field, then before the crowd was finished cheering Kris Bryant murdered a baseball that hit off the giant high-definition video board in left, giving the Cubs a 6-1 lead.
Urias in eight Triple-A appearances this year faced the third time through the battiing order only a total of 10 plate appearances, with batters going 0-for-8 with a walk and a sacrifice but. On Thursday, Cubs batters the third pass through the lineup against Urias were 2-for-5 with two home runs.
If we're looking for positives — and really, that's all we've got at this point — Urias did remain in the game to record the final two outs after the home runs to finish five innings.
Urias did strike out four and only walk one, and he threw two fewer pitches (79) than in his debut (81), recording nearly twice as many outs this time around. Urias also threw 57 of his 79 pitches for strikes, though I'm sure the three home runs he might want back as a little too strikey.
The Dodgers managed just two runs in eight innings against Kyle Hendricks on Thursday, and scored a total of three runs in 26 innings against Cubs starting pithcers in the series.
Anthony Rizzo took J.P. Howell deep in the eighth inning, the fourth home run allowed by the Dodgers, matching their season high, st also on May 4 at Tampa Bay.
Chis Hatcher was the third different Dodgers relief pitcher in three days (Joe Blanton on Tuesday, Pedro Baez on Wednesday) to pitch two innings, and struck out a season-high five. The five strikeouts tied a career high, set on June 13, 2014.
The Braves are the next pitching staff that is no doubt licking their collective chops in getting to face the Dodgers offense, this time in a weekend series in Los Angeles. Atlanta will start Julio Teheran in the opener, while the Dodgers will go with Kenta Maeda.
Frankie Montas is technically eligible to be activated off the 60-day disabled list any day now, but don't expect him to join the Dodgers bullpen anytime soon. The hard-throwing right-hander is scheduled to start for Triple-A Oklahoma City on Saturday.
Home runs: Trayce Thompson (8); Javier Baez (3), Jason Heyward (2), Kris Bryant (13), Anthony Rizzo (12)
WP - Kyle Hendriicks (4-4): 8 IP, 3 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts
LP - Julio Urias (0-1): 5 IP, 8 hits, 6 runs (5 earned runs) 1 walk, 4 strikeouts