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Dodgers need every bit of Julio Urias’ gem to make 1 run hold up

LA gets 5th shutout in last 11 games

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Seattle Mariners Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Julio Urías ferociously attacked the zone on Tuesday, striking out a career-high 11 in a 1-0 win over the Mariners on Tuesday afternoon in Seattle.

Urías entered Tuesday already atop MLB with an 80.5-percent first-pitch strike rate, but ramped that up a few notches against the Mariners. The left-hander not only threw first-pitch strikes to 19 of his 23 batters faced, but started 0-2 on 13 hitters.

That allowed Urías to complete seven innings for the second time in four starts this season, matching a career best. His 11 strikeouts were two better than his previous high mark, set both on April 18, 2019 and in Game 4 of the 2020 World Series.

The only hit Urías allowed was an infield single by Mitch Haniger in the third inning, but after that Urías retired his final 13 batters faced.

Urías induced 17 swinging strikes, his most in a start in two years, including nine on his slurve, a pitch Urías revamped midway during last season. He finished off six of his 11 strikeouts with the slurve.

“They’re moving differently. It’s not a normal pitch, to me,” said catcher Austin Barnes. “I haven’t seen a curveball quite like that. He’s coming out way on the side, and he’s landing it at a really high rate. It does different things all the time. ... It’s a hard pitch for them to get their sights on.”

“It’s harder than a normal curveball,” Dave Roberts said. “But the thing is, the arm speed is still the same, it’s coming out of the same lane as his fastball, and he can strike it.”

Moore is less

On Monday night, Dylan Moore was at third base when his diving snag of a Will Smith line drive turned a potential game-tying hit into an inning-ending out. Tuesday afternoon, Moore was at second base when Chris Taylor’s 107.8-mph smash met an untimely demise with this gem:

That play also prevented a run from scoring, and even though Corey Seager followed with an untouched drive of his own for an RBI single, it prompted Orel Hershiser on the SportsNet LA broadcast to say, “As soon as Corey hit it, I just wondered, ‘Where is Dylan Moore,’” said.

That was the only offense against Marco Gonzales, who like Urías retired his final 13 batters faced. Gonzales allowed three batters to reach base, all in the third inning, but got the Dodgers in order in his other six innings.

The Dodgers only scored eight runs in the final four games of the road trip, but managed to win two of those games, both shutouts by the pitching staff.

“Baseball goes in waves. We started out pretty hot,” said Barnes, who walked, one of six times the Dodgers reached base on Tuesday. “We can win games in a lot of different ways. Our pitching will always keep us in games, and that’s important. We’ll scratch those runs across.”

After Victor Gonzales worked around a walk to pitch a scoreless eighth inning, Kenley Jansen closed things out with a perfect ninth for his fourth save of the year, this one on three days rest.

When Jansen has pitched with zero or one day of rest this season, he allowed runs in both outings. But in his five games with at least two days rest, Jansen has pitched 5⅔ scoreless innings, with eight strikeouts and three walks.

Tuesday particulars

Home runs: none

WP — Julio Urías (3-0): 7 IP, 1 hit, 1 walk, 11 strikeouts

LP — Marco Gonzales (1-2): 7 IP, 2 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts

Sv — Kenley Jansen (4): 1 IP, 2 strikeouts