Urena's start caps rotation's success vs. Bucs

Urena's start caps rotation's success vs. Bucs

PITTSBURGH -- Jose Urena helped the Marlins pull off something they haven't been able to accomplish since 2011, a sweep of the Pirates at PNC Park. The right-hander limited Pittsburgh to two runs in six innings, and Miami held on for a 3-2 win on Sunday.

Starting pitching set the tone all series, and Urena was able to build upon what Tom Koehler and David Phelps were able to do on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

"His stuff was good. He kept the ball down today," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "They were aggressive swinging the bats. Really, he had that one inning in there where he gets himself in a little trouble. Other than that, he was pretty good all day. He kept the ball down. He was changing speeds enough to keep you off the fastball."

Urena is in the rotation because Adam Conley (left third finger tendinitis) is on the disabled list.

If the Marlins are to stay in the National League Wild Card picture the rest of the way, the starters must help pave the way. At Pittsburgh, Koehler, Phelps and Urena combined for a 2.00 ERA, allowing four runs in 18 innings while striking out 14 and walking just three. They also scattered 14 total hits.

"I was comfortable and had good control," Urena said. "I kept the ball down in the zone."

Elevating pitches proved costly for Urena in his previous start, a 6-3 loss last Tuesday in Cincinnati. In that game, the right-hander gave up five runs in the first inning but then made it through the next five frames without anymore damage. He was able to build off that rough first.

The adjustment Urena made was staying down in the zone and commanding his 95-plus-mph fastball and off-speed pitches. In his 11 innings since the first against the Reds, he has allowed just two runs.

"My approach was to take it pitch by pitch, make a quality pitch and take it a little easier for myself," Urena said. "Not be in a hurry."

With better tempo, Urena has better results.

His outing was through after six innings, when he received a big defensive boost from Christian Yelich in left field. Yelich threw out Josh Bell, who was trying to stretch a single to a double.

Yelich retires Bell at second

"That was a big play," Urena said. "That guy tried to get another base, and Yelly took him out. That was fun."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.