MIAMI -- When the season started, the Marlins used Jose Urena in a long-relief role. The 25-year-old has since become a stopper of sorts, especially in recent weeks.
Urena scattered five hits over six shutout innings, and backed by a home run from Giancarlo Stanton, the Marlins edged the Cubs, 2-0, on Friday night at Marlins Park. Urena has now won his last five decisions.
Mixing his pitches, Urena silenced the Cubs the night after the Marlins were routed, 11-1.
"I think you see a guy that is pitching more," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "We know the power is there. He's using his changeup. He's using his slider. You still want him to continue to improve, but he's using [offspeed pitches], and it's making you think as a hitter. I think that's the one thing he has been able to do. He will use his change and throw his slider. As a hitter, it's getting to the point you can't always think you're getting a fastball."
According to Statcast™, Urena's 93 pitches broke down into 19 four-seam fastballs, 20 two-seam fastballs, 29 sliders and 25 changeups. The right-hander got nine swinging strikes.
"The difference 24 hours can make," said Cubs manager Joe Maddon.
The strong showing by Urena, who has an ERA of 3.62 in five June starts, allowed Miami to shake off Thursday night's loss and even the four-game series.
"I felt really good," Lackey said. "I had a good thing going. [Catcher Miguel Montero] called a good game. We were executing a lot of pitches. Their guy pitched a little bit better."
The Marlins got on the board in the third inning on Stanton's latest thunderous home run. The 27-year-old launched a laser shot off the batter's eye in center. Per Statcast™, it traveled a projected 458 feet, making it his third-longest homer this year. The exit velocity was 112.4 mph, and the ball had a 20-degree launch angle. Of his 19 home runs, 12 have been with exit speeds of at least 110 mph. Only Aaron Judge (15) has more.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Slamming the door: Closing out narrow leads has been a struggle for the Marlins' bullpen, and the Cubs had a chance to threaten in the eighth inning. With Chicago trailing by two, David Phelps entered for Miami and walked Kristopher Bryant on five pitches. The Cubs were in business with a leadoff baserunner, and Phelps fell behind in the count, 2-0, to Ian Happ, who had two hits earlier in the game. But Phelps induced a 4-6-3 double play out of Happ and fanned Addison Russell looking to escape any potential jam.
"I've got a lot of faith in my defense behind me," Phelps said. "I've been getting some ground balls lately. I figured, if I make a good pitch, I might get them to roll over."
A run in a Flash: The speed of Dee Gordon helped the Marlins manufacture their second run, which was unearned, in the sixth inning. Gordon singled to left on a ball that dropped just in front of Jonathan Jay. Gordon swiped second and advanced to third on Montero's throwing error. Stanton, who had homered in his previous at-bat off Lackey, was hit by a 91.2-mph fastball, putting runners on the corners. Christian Yelich's sacrifice fly to center made it 2-0.
"They changed their tack tonight. Their guy threw a lot more breaking balls than he did the last time, and he was good with it. He's got very good stuff." -- Maddon, on Urena
"We need him at the hot corner. They're going to test him a little bit like Jay did. Once he gets his midseason form back, he will be really good." -- Stanton, on third baseman Martin Prado returning from the DL. Jay was thrown out by Prado on a bunt attempt in the seventh inning.
Cubs:Jonathan Lester gets the nod for the Cubs on Saturday in a 3:10 p.m. CT start. The left-hander has turned in back-to-back quality starts, going seven innings and striking out 10 in a win over the Mets and working six innings (seven strikeouts) in a no-decision against San Diego.
Marlins:Justin Nicolino (0-1, 5.06) gets the start on Saturday in the 4:10 p.m. ET contest at Marlins Park. The left-hander will be making his fifth start since joining the rotation. He has never faced the Cubs.
Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.