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Julio Urias

Dodgers lefty Julio Urias, ‘El Culichi,’ makes history

Julio Urias is first Mexican to lead majors in victories

After sealing the final out of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ World Series title last year, lefthander Julio Urias has made history this season. He’s the first native of Mexico to lead Major League Baseball in victories and only the fourth Mexican. 

The native of Sinaloa Mexico threw 6 ⅓ innings of one-run ball on Sunday to beat the Milwaukee Brewers, becoming just the fourth native of Mexico to win 20 games in a season. No National League pitcher had secured 20 victories in a season in five years.

Considering the first two natives of Mexico to win 20 games in the majors played for the Dodgers and Milwaukee Brewers in 1986, it was fitting that “El Culichi” accomplished his feat against the Brewers. He is 20-3 with a 2.96 ERA, 195 strikeouts and a 1.02 WHIP.

Julio Urias and Valenzuela connection

Urias, 25, joins Dodgers legend Fernando Valenzuela, former Brewers lefthander Teodoro “Teddy” Higuera and White Sox righthander Estaban Loaiza as the only Mexico natives to win 20 games in the majors. 

Urias is only the second Mexican to lead the National League in victories. Every fan from Mexico would probably be able to guess who the first one was without much problem.

Valenzuela, the 1981 National League Cy Young Award and Rookie of the Year, led the NL in victories with 21 in 1986.

The same year Higuera was 20-11 with a 2.79 ERA for the Brewers. Roger Clemens led the majors in victories with 24 that season. 

Mexico ’86 was about MLB too

No Mexico native had won 20 games in a season in the majors until Valenzuela, a native of Etchohuaquila, Sonora, beat the Astros on Sept. 22, 1986, to claim his 20th victory.

The iconic lefty held the Houston Astros to two runs (one earned) with five strikeouts and three walks in a complete game.

Three days later, Higuera became the second Mexican to win 20 games in a season. The native of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, scattered three runs in a complete game victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

No Mexico native won 20 games in the majors again until 2003. In that season actually two pitchers with Mexican roots won 20 games. Loaiza was 21-9 with a 2.90 ERA in 2003. That same season Russ Ortiz, who was born in Van Nuys, Calif., led the NL in victories. He was 21-3 with a 3.81 ERA for the Atlanta Braves.

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