Miami Marlins

Marlins’ Jose Urena has major setback in loss to Pirates

Miami Marlins relief pitcher Jose Urena delivers in the first inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, May 26, 2015.
Miami Marlins relief pitcher Jose Urena delivers in the first inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, May 26, 2015. AP

Jose Urena failed to bag the win in his first big-league start. New third base coach Lenny Harris waved only one runner home. And the Marlins came out 5-1 losers to the Pirates.

No matter what the Marlins try, it never seems to work.

With three of their starting pitchers on the disabled list — which doesn’t even include Jose Fernandez — the Marlins turned to Urena, a 23-year-old rookie from the Dominican Republic, to try his hand on the mound.

But instead of the pitcher who has turned heads in the minors, the Marlins got one Tuesday who turned numbers on the scoreboard.

Urena gave up as many earned runs Tuesday in the first two innings of his first big-league start as he had in his five previous outings at Triple A New Orleans when he allowed only four earned runs in 31 1/3 innings.

“You can’t miss upstairs here in this league, and he made some pitches where he missed up, and they made him pay,” said manager Dan Jennings.

When Urena was lifted with two outs in the fifth, the Pirates owned a 5-0 lead.

So much for any thoughts the Marlins might have envisioned of Urena coming to their rescue with a splashy debut start (he made two relief appearances for them in April). They have now lost 17 of their past 23 games.

If any pitcher made an impression, it was Andre Rienzo, the Brazilian-born right-hander who took over for Urena and promptly retired all four batters that he faced, including two on strikeouts.

By then, though, it was all window dressing.

If there is any consolation for the Marlins, it comes in the form of Brad Hand. With Rienzo entering in relief, it made the decision easy for Jennings to name Hand as his Wednesday starter when the Marlins try to avoid the sweep.

The Marlins have now lost 10 of their past 11 games at PNC Park, and the lone win during that span came in a game Hand started there last August.

On a day in which the Marlins bumped Brett Butler out of the third base coach’s box and replaced him with Harris, they didn’t exactly give him a workout. Harris offered encouragement by clapping his hands a few times, but not a whole lot else.

The Marlins were blanked for six innings before finally breaking through in the seventh on Martin Prado’s two-out RBI double. They’ve scored only three runs in the first two games of the series.

But the real problem Tuesday was Urena.

Called up from New Orleans, where he had fashioned a 4-0 record and 1.21 ERA this season, Urena ran into immediate trouble when he gave up a leadoff single in the first to Josh Harrison.

Two outs later, Jung Jo Kang put the Pirates on the board with a RBI hit.

It became a troublesome trend for Urena. All five runs he gave up Tuesday, including three runs in the second, came with two outs.

“I felt when I had two strikes that I had the hitter done already,” Urena said of his troubles putting batters away and closing out innings. “Those are things you learn as a rookie. You can’t stop until you get to three outs.”

The biggest of those two-out mistakes came on Neil Walker’s two-run, opposite-field homer in the second. The Pirates added their fifth and final run on Pedro Alvarez’s two-out single in the fifth.

“I made mistakes today,” Urena said. “It didn’t work out for me today, but I’m definitely looking forward to my next start. I’ll just learn from my mistakes today.

Related stories from Miami Herald