On Aug. 15, the day he was ejected for hitting Atlanta’s Ronald Acuna Jr. with his first pitch of the game, Jose Urena’s season was in shambles. The Marlins’ Opening Day starter was 3-12 and he was about to serve a six-game league suspension for the Acuna incident.
That was Urena’s nadir.
In the six weeks since, Urena has undergone a complete and unexpected transformation, salvaging what had been a disaster of a season and turning it into one he can feel better about over the winter months.
Urena notched his sixth straight winning decision Friday in what was his final start of the season, an 8-1 Marlins victory over the Mets, to improve his record to 9-12 while lowering his ERA under 4.00 for the first time.
“The way we started the season, that was a little frustrating, but not for me,” Urena said. “I was thinking more about (my teammates), because they always had my back. I was feeling whatever they felt. I feel they felt bad (for me).”
Urena became the fourth Marlins pitcher to win five games in September, joining Pat Rapp (1995), Anibal Sanchez (2006) and Javier Vasquez (2011). Urena’s six-game winning streak is the longest by a Marlins pitcher since Jose Fernandez won eight straight starts in 2016. Urena’s ERA for September: 1.20.
“I think it’s important for him to go off on a positive note,” said manager Don Mattingly.
On Friday, Urena gave up a run on five hits over six innings and spoiled David Wright’s long-awaited comeback by retiring the Mets star on a ground ball in the fifth. Wright, who was appearing in a major league game for the first time in more than two years, came up as a pinch-hitter to a standing ovation at Citi Field. He will start Saturday in what his expected to be the final game of his career.
Urena has never lost at Citi Field, where he is now 4-0 in four career starts.
After suffering from a lack of run support throughout much of the season, Urena received plenty of scoring help on Friday as the Marlins snapped a three-game losing streak. Miguel Rojas recorded four of the Marlins’ 13 hits.
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