By Jon Weisman
The growth of Julio Urías is so apparent, his progress so steady, that it almost makes the struggles of the Dodger offense not seem so agonizing.
But this is not a perfect world, and once again Urías’ precocious pitching wasn’t enough to prevent a 2-1 Dodger loss to the Giants at San Francisco.
Urías’ upward trajectory continued, unabated and somewhat enthralling. Despite two defensive lapses behind him, the 19-year-old had his most efficient outing, shutting out the Giants for his first five innings on 77 pitches.
For the second start in a row, Urías struck out seven, again the most by a teenager in Los Angeles Dodger history. For the third start in a row, he walked exactly one. And if not for a pop fly that fell untouched between Justin Turner and Corey Seager, he would have allowed only one hit.
That is, until there was one out in the sixth inning, when Joe Panik singled. With Buster Posey on deck, and Urías past 80 pitches, everyone knew that left-handed hitting Brandon Belt would be the southpaw’s final batter of the night. And he was, in the worst way, with a 392-foot home run to right field that broke a scoreless tie.
Joc Pederson hit a homer into the bay in the top of the seventh, but it wasn’t enough to change the outcome. Pederson (2 for 3), Chase Utley (3 for 4) and Corey Seager (1 for 4) had the Dodgers’ only hits, Howie Kendrick their only walk.
Casey Fien, Adam Liberatore and Louis Coleman shut out San Francisco over the final 2 2/3 innings.