LOS ANGELES -- Julio Urias flirted with a no-hitter Tuesday night and really had command of his electric fastball early, which is one more reason the Dodgers come up with comments like the one Dave Roberts issued after the 4-3 walk-off win in 10 innings over the Pirates.
"As good as he pitched," said Roberts, "I still think there's more in there."
Urias lost the no-hitter on Andrew McCutchen's ground-rule double leading off the seventh inning, and the 20-year-old Mexican was allowed to face only one more batter before Roberts lifted him, no longer facing the pressure of removing a third pitcher with a no-hitter (having done so with Thomas Stripling and Rich Hill last year).
Compounding the pressure on Roberts was that it was Mexican Heritage Night at Dodger Stadium.
"Mexican Heritage Night, pitch count starting to creep up, and if I have to take this young kid out of a no-hitter, 45,000 fans would have really come down on me," said Roberts. "I was thinking about it. I've always said he doesn't have a hard pitch count, he was going to keep going out there, but that was a tough one for me. He's going to get his chance for other no-hitters. The number I was thinking of was 110 [pitches]. That's kind of where I was at."
Urias made 95, but after the game he and his manager praised catcher Yasmani Grandal, more for nursing the young pitcher through wavering command from behind the plate than the two-run homer and three total hits the slumping veteran delivered at the plate. Grandal's single leading off the bottom of the 10th turned into the winning run, which was scored by pinch-runner Stripling on Austin Barnes' pinch-double.
"The No. 1 thing, Yasmani did a great job with Julio behind the plate," said Roberts. "He started off working behind hitters. Yasmani got him back in the strike zone, got the changeup working, was really good.
"At the plate, Yas has been working hard to clean up mechanically and the approach, and today he looked like what we've all grown to appreciate about him in the batter's box."
Urias, who came into the game with eight walks in 10 2/3 innings over two starts this season, walked two with five strikeouts in a career-high 6 1/3 innings. He's winless on the season and has not allowed a home run in his last nine starts dating back to last year.
"Getting ahead of hitters more consistently will make his job a lot easier," Roberts said. "He has the ability to make pitches when he needs to. But to go deep into games, he's got to get ahead of guys."