MIAMI — Benches and bullpens cleared during the sixth inning of Wednesday night’s game between the Miami Marlins and Atlanta Braves immediately after Marlins’ rookie Jose Fernandez rounded the bases on his first career home run and exchanged words with Braves catcher Brian McCann.
Afterward, Fernandez took full responsibility for showing up the Braves.
“I feel embarrassed,” said Fernandez, who stood at home plate for several beats and admired his homer. “I feel like I don’t deserve to be here because this isn’t high school no more, this is a professional game and it should be professional players doing what you’re supposed to do.
“I don’t think that should ever happen.”
Marlins manager Mike Redmond made it clear he was not pleased with his young star, who was making his last 2013 start due to a team-imposed innings limit.
“I’m not happy with that whole inning,” Redmond said. “I think tonight showed some immaturity on Jose’s part and his youth, not to make excuses for it … showing the other team up with a home run is not what we’re doing here.
“I know that he got caught up in emotion. But I’m not happy and it ruined the night for me. But I know that will never happen again.”
With Miami ahead 4-1, nobody on base and two out in the sixth, Fernandez connected on Mike Minor’s 1-0 pitch. The Marlins ace stood and watched the ball sail into the Clevelander bar in left.
Fernandez rounded the bases, getting a glare from third baseman Chris Johnson as he headed home. During Johnson’s at-bat the half-inning before, he was seen saying something to Fernandez after flying out to left field.
Soon after Fernandez stepped on home plate, McCann was seen saying something to the rookie.
“(McCann) and I are really close … Freddie Freeman, too … (McCann) told me, ‘Buddy, you can’t do that,’ ” Fernandez said. “I was like, ‘I know. I’m sorry. The game got the best of me.’ ”
When Fernandez answered back, the benches and bullpens emptied, with Johnson leading the charge, rushing in from third base.
Earlier in the inning, Fernandez appeared to utter a few heated words toward the Braves dugout as he walked off the mound. Atlanta’s Evan Gattis had led off the inning with a home run to ruin Fernandez’s shutout bid.
“He took exception to Gattis’ home run — you can tell it walking off the field,” McCann said. “He happened to hit a home run and stood there. I told him you can’t do that. It’s something that didn’t need to happen.
“He didn’t get aggressive. We just looked at each other. I think he realized that he messed up. I think emotions got the best of him tonight.”
While speaking to the media, Fernandez appeared visibly shaken by the events. He denied Johnson had any special part of the incident and added he already had spoken with and apologized to McCann and Minor.
Considered a leading contender for National League Rookie of the Year honors, Fernandez was making his last start of the season. The Marlins imposed a 170-inning limit on the kid with the golden arm.
Fernandez was the winning pitcher in the Marlins 5-2 victory to improve to 12-6 with a 2.19 ERA.