Julio Urias Matches Career High With 8 Strikeouts, Dodgers Edge Cubs
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

After allowing a win to slip through their grasp, the Los Angeles Dodgers started Julio Urias against the Chicago Cubs for the second time this season. Urias is the first of two rookies the Dodgers are starting to close out the three-game series.

Dexter Fowler drew a leadoff walk in the first inning, which sparked a quick rally, much to the delight of the thousands of Cubs fans who were in attendance at Dodger Stadium. Kris Bryant’s flare single put runners on the corners with none out, and Anthony Rizzo followed with an RBI single.

However, Urias managed to limit the damage, aided in part by a Ben Zobrist sacrifice bunt. Addison Russell and Jorge Soler both struck out, stranding runners at second and third.

Corey Seager erased the 1-0 deficit by hitting a solo home run off Jason Hammel with one out in the bottom of the first.

The homer was Seager’s 23rd of the season, which set the Dodgers all-time record for most home runs in a single season by a shortstop.

Urias allowed a leadoff single to Willson Contreras in the second, but retired the next three batters, including two by strike out, to end a scoreless inning of work. Rizzo singled in the third but again, Urias didn’t allow it to amount to anything.

That paid off as the Dodgers wound up chasing Hammel in the bottom half of the inning. After Andrew Toles lined a leadoff double over Zobrist’s head, Urias pulled back his bunt and slapped a single into left field.

Chase Utley’s RBI single gave the Dodgers a 2-1 lead. Then, with one out, Justin Turner knocked an RBI base hit into center field. Hammel’s day came to an end after just 39 pitches over 2.1 innings. Rob Zastryzny came on and retired Adrian Gonzalez and Yasmani Grandal.

Urias induced a force out and inning-ending double play after walking Soler to start the fourth. Urias allowed a single but bookended a scoreless fifth inning with strikeouts. Meanwhile, Zastryzny continued to stymy the Dodgers, setting them down in order in the bottom of the fifth.

Urias navigated his way through traffic in the sixth, picking up a strikeout and inducing a double play. He finished the afternoon with eight strikeouts and completed six innings for a second consecutive start. Both totals tied career highs.

Pedro Baez took over in the seventh and threw the ball away after fielding Contreras’ bunt. Baez then balked Contreras to third base, and he scored on Jason Heyward’s pinch-hit RBI single. Heyward was caught stealing for the second out, but Baez walked Fowler and Bryant.

Bryant’s plate appearance was particularly agonizing as it included several throw overs to first base and lasted more than seven minutes. Adam Liberatore replaced the slow-moving Baez, and retired Rizzo to end the inning.

Trevor Cahill set the Dodgers down in order in the bottom of the seventh. Their last baserunner up to that point came in the fourth on Toles’ two-out single. Jesse Chavez tossed a 1-2-3 eighth inning, and Kenley Jansen bounced back from his blown save to shut the door on the Cubs and wrap up the Dodgers’ 3-2 victory.