MIAMI — Jose Fernandez took the Marlins Park mound Saturday afternoon, five days after suffering the shortest outing of his young career.
The Miami Marlins only hope they can rebound as successfully as Fernandez did.
The 20-year-old rookie struck out eight in seven scoreless innings of Miami’s 8-1 victory against the New York Mets.
On Memorial Day, Fernandez surrendered seven runs (four earned) in just 3 1/3 innings in Miami’s 10-6 loss at Tampa Bay.
“I took away a lot of stuff from that outing that I’ve been working on this week and I’m going to keep working on.” Fernandez said. “You have to know and you have to learn when you’re at this level.
“The games here are intense. You don’t want to look bad, but you could give up 10 runs in two minutes.”
Fernandez’s mom was in attendance Saturday to see him win for the first time in Miami. The Marlins ace flew her in from Tampa in the morning, and the two enjoyed a waterside lunch before the game.
“I’m pretty happy about everything that happened today,” he said.
Tampa is Fernandez’s adopted home, and facing the Rays on Monday was the first time the young pitcher performed as a major leaguer in front of many hometown friends and fans.
Fernandez undoubtedly was a little too juiced at Tropicana Field and battled with his control.
“I was a little upset, like I should be, after that game but the next day was a another day,” he said. “It was time to get work done and I’m pretty happy how I came back. Not the way I pitched today, but how I came back the next day to start getting my work done for my next start.”
Fernandez (3-3) is scheduled to start in New York on Friday. That will be his fourth time facing the Mets in two months.
“We’re going to see him a lot of times because you play them 19 times,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “I’m going to tell you something, if he throws like he did today, I don’t care if you see him 30 times, he’s going to get you out.”
Fernandez retired his final 11 batters on Saturday, striking out the side in the seventh. He also had an RBI single, and scored a run after doubling in the seventh.
“You want to help yourself out there. You want to get your bunts down and if you can help yourself, you’ll take it,” Fernandez said.
Fernandez’s RBI was a result of Jeff Mathis scoring from first when the pitcher singled to deep left center.
Mathis’ biggest assist to the young pitcher, however, was the work he did from behind the plate.
“He has a very good idea of what he wants to do and how to do it for a 20-year-old,” the Marlins catcher said. “That’s probably what impresses me the most … along with a 96 mph fastball at the knees.”