Even in defeat, Urias cherishes 'beautiful experience'

Dodgers rookie is youngest pitcher to start a postseason game

Even in defeat, Urias cherishes 'beautiful experience'

LOS ANGELES -- Bret Saberhagen missed witnessing history by 24 hours. The former Royals ace attended Game 3 of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium but was a few miles away at his Southern California home on Wednesday when 20-year-old Dodger Julio Urias took the mound for Game 4, and eclipsed Saberhagen as the youngest pitcher in Major League history to start a postseason game.

Urias called it "a beautiful experience" despite the result, a 10-2 loss in which he worked 3 2/3 innings and the Cubs' slumping offense awakened at the left-hander's expense. Urias was 20 years, 68 days old on Wednesday, 107 days younger than Saberhagen was for the Royals for Game 2 of the 1984 American League Championship Series against the Tigers.

NLCS Game 5: Today 8 ET/ 5 PT on FS1

Game Date Matchup Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 15 CHC 8, LAD 4 video
Gm 2 Oct. 16 LAD 1, CHC 0 video
Gm 3 Oct. 18 LAD 6, CHC 0 video
Gm 4 Oct. 19 CHC 10, LAD 2 video
Gm 5 Oct. 20 CHC 8, LAD 4 video
Gm 6 Oct. 22 CHC 5, LAD 0 video

"A lot of people ask me, 'You were 19 years old when you got called up to the big leagues -- how did you do that stuff?'" Saberhagen said. "I just think that's what I was supposed to be doing. I didn't know any different.

"I really thrived on big games."

The Dodgers say the same about Urias, which is why they trusted him to pitch a pivotal game in a best-of-seven series that is now tied at 2-2. Urias didn't allow a hit in the first three innings but found trouble after Chicago's Ben Zobrist led off the fourth with a surprise bunt, sending Urias and the Dodgers spiraling toward a 4-0 deficit.

The next batter, Javier Baez, was in an 0-2 count when he floated a single to left field. Willson Contreras was also down in the count, 0-2, when he singled off Urias to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead, Dodgers left fielder Andrew Toles compounding the trouble when his wild throw home advanced Chicago's runners. It was 2-0 after Jason Heyward's run-scoring groundout, and 4-0 when Addison Russell snapped a 1-for-25 funk by hitting a 94 mph fastball for a two-run home run.

Urias' role in the NLCS

Urias faced one more batter, opposing pitcher John Lackey, and retired him on a sharp groundout. And with that, a historic start was over.

"Win or lose, it was a beautiful experience and it's going to help me a lot," Urias said.

Urias has been young for his surroundings throughout his professional career. He was 17 years old when he pitched in the 2014 All-Star Futures Game in Kansas City, and was 19 when the made his Major League debut against the Mets on May 27.

Urias became the fourth-youngest pitcher to appear in a postseason game when he pitched relief in Game 5 of the NL Division Series against the Nationals. Wednesday brought another historical note.

Urias discusses loss vs. Cubs

"I left that aside," Urias said. "I went out there to give the best for my team, and unfortunately we didn't get the result. … You have to be ready for everything. I wish I could have taken advantage of this outing, but we didn't get the results that we wanted."

"That inning got away from us," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, "but it was just the bunt base hit and a couple flares [that started the rally]. … I thought Julio was throwing the baseball well. And you know, you get to a spot where I think the stuff is really good, and he's a victim of some plays we didn't make for him; he got Russell to fly out weakly in his first at-bat, so you've got to give Julio an opportunity to make pitches, and left a 2-0 fastball up out over."

Saberhagen has yet to see Urias pitch in person, but he is interested in the young lefty.

"Hey, records are made to be broken, and it's great to see a young kid having that level of success," Saberhagen said. "It's also pretty good to see your name thrown out there after all these years."

Adam McCalvy has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.