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Julio Urías efficient in Dodgers’ win over Diamondbacks

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6 strong innings for Dodgers LHP in series opener

MLB: SEP 01 Diamondbacks at Dodgers Photo by Kyusung Gong/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Dave Roberts said he’d like Julio Urías to be more efficient, and the left-hander delivered in a 6-3 win over the Diamondbacks on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium.

Urías allowed only one run on four hits in six innings, striking out five while walking none for the second time this season. The only run was a solo home run by Carson Kelly in the third inning, which was followed by two one-out singles, giving Arizona another scoring threat.

But Urías settled down, retiring the next 11 batters faced to close out his night. He retired the side in order in four of his six innings. Urías entered Tuesday averaging 17.1 pitches per inning this season, the highest on the staff. But against Arizona he needed only 78 pitches to finish his six innings, 13 per frame.

“If you attack batters and you try to get them early, then you look up and you’re six or seven innings in,” Urías said on a conference call, through a translator. “It’s just the way you have to think, and I’m really happy with the work I’ve been able to put in.”

It was just the 12th time in 37 games a Dodgers starting pitcher lasted at least six innings this season, just under a third of the time. The Dodgers are 10-2 in those games*, including all three of Urías’ wins.

*The Dodgers have had to settle for an unsightly .680 winning percentage (17-8) in the games their starter didn’t reach six innings. The horror.

Part of those early short starts were by design, especially in the early going after an abbreviated summer camp and the start-stop-start nature of 2020 as a whole. But Roberts has had his quick hooks as well at times, including pulling Urías after only five outs two starts ago in Seattle.

Roberts said Urías would start again Sunday, the first time a Dodgers starter will pitch on four days rest this season, and that was one of the reason’s Urías wasn’t allowed to pitch the seventh despite a relatively low pitch count.

Dodgers starting pitchers average 4.82 innings per game this season, slightly above the 4.73 league-wide average.

But now, with the calendar flipped to September, only four weeks remaining in the regular season, and with the Dodgers’ rotation now set with its five members, Roberts said he expects starters to last deeper into games now.

“I think each game, that’s the goal, but you still got to manage these guys,” Roberts said on a conference call before the game. “But having a little bit more of a foundation, getting through the first month of the season, I think was important for everyone.”

Notes

  • Chris Taylor figured in nearly all the scoring on Tuesday. He walked with the bases loaded in the first inning, then singled home a run in the third. Taylor reached an an error and scored in the fifth, then scorched a 108.3-mph line drive over the head of a stunned Kole Calhoun in right field for a two-run double in the fifth.
  • Taylor had one of five walks by D-backs starter Alex Young. Dodgers batters tied a season high with eight walks on the night. “I thought tonight we did a pretty good job of sometimes getting in advantage counts, and taking advantage when he had to throw strikes,” Taylor said.
  • Alex Wood, just activated off the injured list Tuesday, made his first relief appearance in two years. He pitched a scoreless eighth inning, striking out two.
  • Wood’s only batter faced to reach base was old friend Tim Locastro, who was naturally hit by a pitch. Somehow for Locastro, who was hit 22 times in 250 plate appearances last year and averaged 30 HBP per year in the minors with the Dodgers, that was his first HBP in 33 PA in 2020.
  • It wasn’t as smooth for Scott Alexander, who entered the ninth with a 6-1 lead, but allowed a walk and a two-run homer. A second walk with two outs ended his night, with Kenley Jansen cleaning up the mess by recording the final out for his 10th save.
  • Cody Bellinger was scratched from the lineup with a sore lat muscle he felt during pregame work in the batting cages, Alanna Rizzo reported on the SportsNet LA broadcast. Roberts said after the game he is unsure if Bellinger will play Wednesday. It will depend on how he goes he feels tomorrow.

Tuesday particulars

Home runs: Carson Kelly (2), Nick Ahmed (4)

WP — Julio Urías (3-0): 6 IP, 4 hits, 1 run, 5 strikeouts

LP — Alex Young (1-2): 5 IP, 6 hits, 4 runs (2 earned), 5 walks, 4 strikeouts

Sv — Kenley Jansen (10): ⅓ IP, 1 strikeout

Up next

Walker Buehler will be activated to start Wednesday night (6:40 p.m.; SportsNet LA, MLB Network), facing Diamondbacks ace Zac Gallen.