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Ugly 4th inning by Ureña, Marlins proves costly in Opening Day loss

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At least the “ballpark enhancements” were a hit!

Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Opening Day 2018, a contest versus the Chicago Cubs, was certainly one José Ureña would rather forget. On the very first pitch, Ian Happ belted a moonshot to right field, and the Cubs never looked back from there.

One year later, Ureña was selected for his second consecutive Opening Day start. Despite encouraging results the first time through the Rockies lineup, things fell apart in the fourth inning. Paced by David Dahl’s three hits and two unfortunate Miami errors, Kyle Freeland and the Colorado Rockies began a fresh season with a convincing victory at Marlins Park Thursday afternoon, 6-3.

Ureña overcame an early injury scare when Dahl hit a sharp line drive off his lower left leg. The right-hander resumed pitching after taking a couple minutes to walk it off.

Ureña faced a deeper jam in the third with two runners on and nobody out. He can thank Garrett Cooper for keeping the Rockies off the scoreboard, as the right fielder delivered a strong throw to third base to turn a double play.

Disaster struck in the top of the fourth. Colorado mustered four runs on four hits in the inning alone, including an error apiece from Miguel Rojas and Lewis Brinson. Manager Don Mattingly took Ureña out in the fifth after 94 pitches. He totaled only two strikeouts (one of those coming against Freeland).

Freeland, a lefty, zipped through Miami hitters. Starlin Castro recorded the first hit in the bottom of the fourth.

Uncharacteristic of last season’s small-ball offense, the only Marlins runs were produced from solo home runs. JT Riddle and free agent addition Neil Walker went deep in the bottom of the seventh and eighth, respectively. Catcher Jorge Alfaro delivered his to the opposite field in the ninth.

Miami went 63-98 in 2018, but with the internal growth and the acquisitions of key veterans, the hope is the win/loss record can improve to some extent in 2019. The average prediction from the Fish Stripes staff was 70-92.

Meanwhile, Miami’s relief unit was outstanding. Nick Anderson (making his major league debut), Tayron Guerrero, Tyler Kinley and Austin Brice combined to toss 4 13 shutout innings.

The Rockies will look to overpower the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres in a talented NL West Division. On the flip side, Miami will have to see the presence of Atlanta, New York, Washington and Philadelphia, all of them poised for a potential postseason run.

The four-game set continues Friday night, with German Marquez on the bump for Colorado. Miami will send out righty Trevor Richards.

First pitch is scheduled for approximately 7:10 p.m.

Marlins vs. Rockies box score (MLB.com)


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