The Marlins exhaled a bit Tuesday despite the eventual extra-inning loss to the Red Sox.
They saw the pitcher they were hoping José Ureña could be at the top of their rotation.
Ureña bounced back from a rough Opening Day start last week by tying a career high with seven strikeouts on a career-high 109 pitches.
Although Boston would prevail 4-2 in 13 innings, Ureña’s outing was a welcome rebound for the Marlins’ resilient No. 1 starter.
“I just came back today and attacked hitters,” Ureña said. “We just stuck with the same plan of attacking them inside and then working the outside half to our advantage.”
Ureña’s steadfast approach was evident from the start.
His first two pitches were 97 mph fastballs high and inside that brushed back Red Sox leadoff hitter Eduardo Nuñez, the second time dropping him to the ground to avoid getting hit. Ureña’s third pitch induced a pop-up and the first out of the game.
Things could have still gone sideways quickly, though, as Ureña walked Andrew Benintendi, who then stole second and came around to score on a single by J.D. Martinez.
That would be the only run Ureña would yield during his fifth career seven-inning start and fourth in which he allowed one run or less.
“After that first inning, it’s almost like he relaxed,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “His changeup was working, his breaking ball was better. He had movement on his fastball. I thought he was really good after the first. Once he settled down, the ball came out of his hand clean today.
“When he gives up a run in the first you could have looked at that as an ‘uh-oh, here we go.’ But he really settled down.”
Just as Ureña didn’t dwell on the negatives from his first start in which he gave up five runs in four innings, he didn’t get caught up in Tuesday’s success.
“I try not to pay too much attention to those results because it’s a long season and you want to keep going and keep fighting every time out,” Ureña said.
Marlins pitchers might get a much-needed respite over the next three days assuming they don’t play more extra innings on Thursday against the Phillies.
That game is sandwiched between a pair of needed days off for a staff that worked a combined 58 innings during the past five games, including a 17-inning marathon last Friday and a 13-inning game on Tuesday.
The Marlins, who played three extra-inning games in their first six of a season for the first time since 2011, used five relievers Tuesday, even after Ureña’s seven-inning quality start.
“We’ve got some guys a little banged up so the day off we’ll be good,” Mattingly said. “We have a good chance of getting back in order as far as rest out of the pen so we should be in pretty good shape.”
The Marlins opened the roof for the sixth consecutive game, marking the longest stretch of games played with the roof open in Marlins Park’s history. The stadium debuted in 2012.
The Marlins, who entered the season with an 18-32 record with the roof open during the ballpark’s first six seasons, opened it up for games six times all of last season and lost each time.
Marlins CEO Derek Jeter said he wants more games played with the roof open and team sources have said the club intends to open it up — weather permitting — possibly double or even triple the amount it had been in the past.
“I like it,” Mattingly said. “I like the atmosphere with it open. And I think you know here it’s only short-term just because of the heat. I like it open. I know some guys, you get frustrated when you hit balls good and they don’t go out. But there were some balls hit on the other side, too, that didn’t go out.”
Brian Anderson hit safely for the sixth consecutive game Tuesday, tying Marcell Ozuna (2013) and Scott Pose (1993) for the third-longest streak by a Marlins rookie to open a season. The record is eight held by Hanley Ramirez (2006) and Alejandro De Aza (2007).
Thursday: Marlins LHP Caleb Smith (0-0, 1.69 ERA) vs. Philadelphia Phillies RHP Nick Pivetta (0-0, 6.75), 3:05 p.m., Citizens Bank Park.
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