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Home runs burn Julio Urías again as Dodgers drop another series

LA lost 3 of last 4 series to fall back to .500

Los Angeles Dodgers v Pittsburgh Pirates Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

Julio Urías had a second straight clunker, and the Dodgers as currently constructed aren’t good enough to overcome when their ace isn’t pitching well. Los Angeles is back at .500 for the 10th time in 13 opportunities this season, dropping the series finale 6-2 to the Pirates at PNC Park in Pittsburgh on Thursday afternoon.

The game was close through five innings, with a big first inning for both teams fueled a 3-2 contest to that point. But Urías, who hadn’t allowed a hit since the first inning, walked Andrew McCutchen with one out in the sixth before allowing home runs to Connor Joe and Rodolfo Castro to break the game open.

Urías has allowed back-to-back home runs in each of his last three starts, after allowing multiple homers in only five of his 31 starts last season. The left-hander finishes April with a 4.41 ERA, his seven home runs tied for fourth-most in the majors.

The Dodgers offense had no such success against Pirates starter Mitch Keller. They got to him for a pair of runs on two singles, a walk, and a steal in the first inning, but nothing else after that. Keller struck out 10 in six innings, tying Drew Smyly for the most by a pitcher against the Dodgers this season.

Pittsburgh’s bullpen retired all nine batters they faced, with the Dodgers scoring three runs or fewer for the 11th time in 26 games.

Getting run out of town

The Pirates found a glaring Dodgers weakness and exploited it all series long. They stole 12 bases in three games, including three on Thursday, continuing a problem that has plagued Los Angeles all season long.

It’s the first time the Dodgers allowed at least three stolen bases in three consecutive games since July 12-14, 1980, when the Padres stole 13 bases in a sweep in San Diego. The Dodgers have never allowed three steals in four straight games.

Dodgers allowing 3 SB in 3 straight games

Dates Opponent Total SB
Dates Opponent Total SB
Jul 8-10, 1914 at Reds 12
Aug 18-20, 1915 Cubs 13
Sep 13-15, 1923 at Pirates 11
Jul 12-14, 1980 at Padres 13
Apr 25-27, 2023 at Pirates 12
Source: Baseball Reference

All three steals in the series finale came in the first inning alone, which is remarkable considering Urías hadn’t allowed more than two stolen bases in a game in his career before Thursday. Even the usually stingy Urías has not been immune to the Dodgers’ running woes, as his six steals allowed through six starts is one shy of his career high for a season.

The first two of those Pirates steals were on a double steal, and helped lead to two more runs in the frame. Rather than first and second with one out, the Pirates were able to score one run with a sacrifice fly, and another with a two-out bloop single.

During the series, eight of the 12 Pirates who stole a base scored in that inning.

Urías settled down after the three-run first, and even picked off Castro trying to steal in the fourth inning. Urías has three pickoffs this season, matching the total number of runners thrown out by Dodgers catchers.

Thursday particulars

Home runs: Connor Joe (3), Rodolfo Castro (3)

WP — Mitch Keller (3-0): 6 IP, 5 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 10 strikeouts

LP — Julio Urías (3-3): 5⅔ IP, 7 hits, 6 runs, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts

Up next

The Dodgers are back home on Friday night to host the Cardinals at Dodger Stadium. That game is only on Apple TV+, not SportsNet LA, but there’s a free two-month trial available. Dustin May starts Friday for Los Angeles, which should also get Max Muncy and Brusdar Graterol back from the paternity list. Harvard-Westlake’s own Jack Flaherty starts for St. Louis.