MIAMI — The Miami Marlins’ 2012 All-Star player saved this year’s representative from going to the Midsummer Classic as a losing pitcher.
Giancarlo Stanton’s solo home run off Washington closer Rafael Soriano in the bottom of the ninth Saturday night tied the game and enabled the Marlins to go on and beat the Nationals 2-1 in 10 innings.
Stanton’s blast took Jose Fernandez off the hook. The right-hander appeared on the verge of dropping to 5-6.
Thanks to Stanton, Miami won’t have a sub-.500 hurler going to New York’s Citi Field for Tuesday night’s All-Star Game.
“Oh cool, I didn’t know that,” Stanton said when told he earned an unofficial save for the rookie.
Fernandez undoubtedly knew his record but insisted it was not a priority — not heading into this season’s All-Star break or at any other time.
“I tried to keep the team in the game, and if I lost, fine. OK, we lost — we’ll get ’em tomorrow,” Fernandez said. “I don’t care about my record. I promise you, I don’t care about it at all. It doesn’t go through my mind.
“I go out there to pitch and keep the game close and give my team a chance to win. If we win, good. If I don’t get the win and somebody else gets it, that’s fine. I don’t mind. I’m here to give this team a chance to win every time I go out there.”
Fernandez allowed one run and four hits in six innings. That’s a performance certainly not worthy of a loss, but Washington’s Dan Haren threw three-hit ball over six shutout innings.
“You look at the box score and you wouldn’t say that was a grind for Fernandez, but he had to really work to execute his pitches,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. “And he got a little excited out there, which shows that he’s 20 years old and he’s still growing and learning in the big leagues.”
Well, it depends what part of the box score you look at. If you notice Fernandez threw 103 pitches in his six innings, you could accurately assume he labored a bit in his final pre-All-Star break start.
The Cuban hurler reached the 100-pitch plateau three previous times — with a high of 107 — but went at least seven innings in each of those.
Stanton’s blast meant that Fernandez stayed unbeaten in nine home starts. His Marlins Park ERA remained 1.47.
Stanton and Fernandez. One tries to be lights out, the other provides the power.
Marlins fans hopes they see Nos. 16 and 27 contributing to victories well into the future. Fernandez expects it.
“I think so,” Fernandez said. “The most important part about today was fans and everybody that knows baseball and loves baseball saw we fought through even though we were facing one of the best closers in the game.
“We didn’t give up — and we’re not going to.”
Never one to hide his emotions, Fernandez said his reaction to Stanton’s home run probably was the most excited he had been so far this season.
“That’s why I love this game so much,” Fernandez said. “I love this team and I’m going to give my heart and everything to it. Whoever doesn’t like it, I don’t care. This is my team and this is what I work for.”