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Julio Urías looks like Julio Urías in Dodgers’ win over Pirates

Pittsburgh Pirates v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES — Dodgers pitchers have been dropping like flies, so any sort of return to normalcy is welcome. Julio Urías provided that with six strong innings in his second game back from the injured list, backed by a powerful top of the lineup in a 5-2 win over the Pirates on Thursday at Dodger Stadium.

“He started the season as our opening day starter, which was earned, and I think he wants to fulfill that responsibility,” manager Dave Roberts said prior to Thursday’s series finale. “Up to this point he hasn’t been as consistent as he’d like, as we’d like, and that’s most frustrating.”

Urías entered Thursday with a 4.94 ERA and 4.40 xERA in 11 starts this season. That included missing six weeks with a left hamstring strain. His first game back, Saturday in Kansas City, was a nightmare, allowing five runs in a 35-pitch first inning. Urías only lasted three innings that day, and Roberts before the game was mindful that Thursday was only Urías’ second game back.

“I could see six [innings] and 90 [pitches] at the max, if all goes well, and that’d be great,” Roberts said.

Urías threw 88 pitches in his six innings, and allowed only two runs on three hits. The two runs were greatly helped by a misread in left field that went over David Peralta’s head, scored a double for Jack Suwinski, setting up Pittsburgh with runners on second and third with nobody out.

After the runs scored, Urías retired 11 straight batters, allowing only a walk to Ke’Bryan Hayes the rest of the way. Urías struck out eight.

He walked off the mound in a tie game, but in the bottom of the sixth the offense got him the lead. Freddie Freeman led off with a double, then scored on a home run by Max Muncy, his 20th of the year and second during the four-game series against Pittsburgh.

“There’s less chase down low,” Roberts said of Muncy. “When he’s using the big part of the field, that’s when he’s at his best.”

The Dodgers’ first runs were scored in similar fashion in the first inning, with Mookie Betts providing the double and Freeman hitting the home run, his 15th.

Betts (23 home runs), Muncy, and J.D. Martinez (20) give the Dodgers three players with 20 home runs before the All-Star break for the second time in franchise history, joining Cody Bellinger, Muncy, and Joc Pederson in 2019.

Freeman and Betts hooked up again in the seventh, with a double single plating another run.

With the lead in hand, and limited bullpen options after heavy usage over the last week, the Dodgers navigated the final three innings with one pitcher their nearly placed on the injured list but didn’t, and two others who were called back up from Triple-A before the game.

Nick Robertson struck out the side in the seventh.

Brusdar Graterol, who was unavailable the previous two days with shoulder soreness, pitched a scoreless eighth inning on only seven pitches, getting a double play after an infield single followed by a strikeout.

Alex Vesia pitched a perfect ninth for his third career save, 364 days after his last one.

Thursday particulars

Home runs: Freddie Freeman (15), Max Muncy (20)

WP — Julio Urías (6-5): 6 IP, 3 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts

LP — Johan Oviedo (3-10): 6⅔ IP, 6 hits, 5 runs, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts

Sv — Alex Vesia (1): 1 IP, 1 strikeout

Up next

The Dodgers have two more games left before the All-Star break, hosting the Angels beginning Friday night (7:10 p.m., SportsNet LA). Tony Gonsolin gets the start in the series opener, facing Griffin Canning for the Halos.