Dodgers' 19-year-old rookie holds up under bright spotlight

SAN FRANCISCO – The Los Angeles Dodgers are making every effort to protect Julio Urias’ abundant physical gifts, limiting him to no more than 90 pitches per outing and closely monitoring his innings.

Urias’ psyche?

That, he has to protect himself, and at this rate Urias must be getting the feeling he can handle this level.

In the latest stage of his extended baptism by fire, the rookie left-hander got his first exposure to the Dodgers’ longstanding rivalry with the San Francisco Giants – on the road, in front of a national TV audience and in prime time, no less.

The Giants prevailed 2-1 to extend their lead in the National League West to five games, but the enduring impression from this ESPN Sunday Night Game will be the skill and poise exhibited by a 19-year-old in his fourth major league start.

Urias was brilliant over the first five shutout innings, allowing just two hits and a walk until a two-run homer by Brandon Belt ended his night one out into the sixth. Urias struck out seven for the second game in a row, including Belt twice before the…

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