NEW YORK -- A month ago, Jose Urena was the subject of scrutiny for plunking Atlanta rookie Ronald Acuna Jr. with a pitch. The incident resulted in the Marlins right-hander being slapped with a six-game suspension.Since then, Urena has pitched as if he is on a mission. The right-hander has
NEW YORK -- A month ago, Jose Urena was the subject of scrutiny for plunking Atlanta rookie Ronald Acuna Jr. with a pitch. The incident resulted in the Marlins right-hander being slapped with a six-game suspension.
Since then, Urena has pitched as if he is on a mission. The right-hander has attacked the strike zone, and made steady progress in each outing. It was more of the same on Tuesday night as he allowed one run in 6 1/3 innings in the Marlins' 5-3 victory over the Mets at Citi Field.
"When we're attacking those hitters, we're getting people out in three or four pitches," Urena said. "We're trying to take advantage of it, and it helps go deeper into the game."
Matched against National League Cy Young Award candidate Jacob deGrom, Urena needed to be on point. And he was, striking out five, while allowing four hits before exiting in the seventh inning.
"You have to attack those hitters, because you know that guy over there, he don't joke [around]," Urena said of being matched with an ace like deGrom.
Lewis Brinson provided a two-run double off deGrom, and JT Riddle homered in the eighth off Anthony Swarzak.
The Marlins added some insurance runs in the ninth inning on Brian Anderson's RBI triple and Derek Dietrich's run-scoring double. It was needed because the Mets added a two-run homer by Kevin Plawecki in the ninth.
In his four starts since being suspended for hitting Acuna on Aug. 15, Urena has an ERA of 2.22 in 28 1/3 innings.
"I think he's throwing a lot of strikes with his fastballs," Mattingly said. "He's keeping the ball down, and letting it just move. His breaking ball has got a little better shape right now. He's got some depth to that pitch."
On Tuesday, Urena kept the Mets off-stride with a four-pitch mix -- working off his two-seam fastball (thrown 45 times) and 25 sliders. Of his 99 pitches, he got 12 swinging strikes.
The Marlins made a double-switch in the seventh inning, going with Riddle at shortstop. The decision paid off at the plate in the eighth as Riddle crushed a home run to right.
Miami once again proved pesky for deGrom, who became the first pitcher in MLB history to have 26 straight starts allowing three or fewer runs. Miami has won all four of its games while facing deGrom this year.
The Marlins were held hitless for 3 2/3 innings before Anderson dribbled a slow roller up the middle that second baseman Jeff McNeil couldn't corral smoothly. It was ruled a single. Dietrich's floater to left field put runners on first and second for Brinson, who crushed an 0-2 fastball for a two-run double. According to Statcast™, the exit velocity of the two-base hit was 104.1 mph, and the drive projected at 407 feet.
"We just hang in there," Mattingly said. "That's the one thing about [deGrom]. You just have to scrap for your hits. Andy gets that hit up the middle. Dietz hits that little flare to left, and then we get the big hit. Obviously, nobody else is doing more than that, either. For him, obviously, breaking that record tonight. But we just hang in there."
In the sixth inning, the Mets chipped to within a run on Michael Conforto's home run to left-center.
Urena worked into the seventh inning, issuing a leadoff walk to Austin Jackson and then retiring Plawecki on a popout to shortstop. In relief, Adam Conley retired pinch-hitter Jay Bruce on a lineout to second, and induced a groundout to second from Amed Rosario.
"I don't care if I get beat by hits," Urena said. "I try to keep the same mode, and just attack the hitters, and see if we can take advantage of it."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Add-on runs provided some breathing room for the Marlins and they needed them. Riddle's home run made it a two-run game, and the RBIs in the ninth from Anderson and Dietrich gave Drew Steckenrider four runs to work with in the ninth.
Riddle was playing in his first game since Sept. 3. The left-handed hitting shortstop had been out with a left wrist injury.
"It felt really good, especially being off a week now," Riddle said. "I've felt good a couple of days. These last few rainouts have been nice to relax a couple of more days, and heal up a little bit more."
Brinson is hitting .400 (12-for-30) with three doubles, a home run and six RBIs since Sept. 1.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Riddle's home run was his ninth of the season. Per Statcast™, the second deck shot to right field projected at 405 feet, with an exit speed of 105.7 mph.
HE SAID IT
"After I had the MRI and got it checked, it was all good. There was no serious damage in there. It kind of cleared my head a little bit, which was good. Those two rainouts really helped. Got me two extra days to rest." -- Riddle, on knowing he was healthy enough to play
In Wednesday's doubleheader at Citi Field, the Marlins will start Trevor Richards in Game 1 vs. Zack Wheeler, and in Game 2, Jeff Brigham is matched with Jason Vargas. Richards has 105 strikeouts in 102 2/3 innings. Brigham makes his second big league start. He had a 2.36 ERA in 95 1/3 innings in the Minors.
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.