MIAMI (AP) — Miami Marlins rookie Jose Fernandez waved his arms, stomped his foot and pounded the dugout railing, trying to coax one final out from the San Diego Padres.
The right-hander-turned-cheerleader succeeded in both roles Monday, helping the Marlins beat San Diego 4-0.
Fernandez pitched a career-high eight innings, struck out 10 and allowed only two hits. Then he watched anxiously from the bench as Steve Cishek entered the game with two on and two out in the ninth to preserve the win.
“I get excited,” the 20-year-old Fernandez said. “We’re winning by four runs, but it’s the big leagues, man. With two outs, anybody can score 10 runs. I’ve seen it happen.”
Victories have been especially elusive for the Marlins, who began the week with the worst record in the majors. But since June 1 they’re 16-10, and they’ve won six of their past seven games.
“We were losing games 2-1 and 3-2. We would hit the ball right at people,” Fernandez said. “Now we’re playing really good baseball, and the team feels great.”
The Marlins have matched a season high with three consecutive wins while allowing a total of three runs.
Jeff Mathis delivered the big hit for the second game in a row, raising his batting average to .154. He hit a three-run double in the sixth, when the Marlins scored four unearned runs off Jason Marquis.
Mathis’ ninth-inning grand slam beat the Padres on Sunday. With seven RBIs in two games, he doubled his season total.
San Diego lost for the seventh time in nine games. Padres shortstop Pedro Ciriaco helped Marquis with two fine defensive plays early, but his errant throw in the sixth led to the unearned runs.
“You have to be focused and make routine groundballs,” Ciriaco said.
Fernandez (5-4), who might be the Marlins’ representative at the All-Star Game, said his stuff ranked with the best he has had all year. He equaled a career high in strikeouts, walked one and threw 100 pitches.
“After about four innings I was sitting there going, `Man, we just need to get a run for this kid. He’s got great stuff,'” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. “He was overpowering some of their guys, and they weren’t taking real good swings.”
Fernandez improved to 3-1 with an ERA of 1.34 over his past six starts.
“You can tell why the Marlins like this kid,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “He has a lot of talent. For 20 years old, he’s pretty advanced.”
When Fernandez came off the field after pitching the eighth inning, he tried to hide from Redmond at the far end of the dugout, hoping to stay in the game. After Redmond found him and told him he was being pulled for a pinch-hitter, Fernandez became the most animated player on the bench as he watched the ninth.
“This kid wants it,” Redmond said. “He’s having fun. He’s like a little kid out there, and that’s what I love about him.”
Cishek retired Kyle Blanks for his 15th save in 17 chances, completing a three-hitter.
Miami won despite going 2 for 14 with runners in scoring position. Marquis (9-4) issued a career-high seven walks in 6 1-3 innings but lowered his ERA to 3.74 because he allowed no earned runs.
“He did what he always does,” Black said. “He battles and works his way through a game, but he was just outpitched by their guy.”
The game was scoreless when Ed Lucas reached leading off the sixth on Ciriaco’s wild throw. Giancarlo Stanton walked, and Marcell Ozuna singled home a run after his foul pop dropped just beyond the reach of catcher Yasmani Grandal near the Padres dugout.
“When you’re going good, you get those breaks,” Redmond said.
With runners at second and third, Derek Dietrich was intentionally walked, and Mathis’ double cleared the bases to make it 4-0.
Carlos Quentin doubled with two outs in the first, and that was the Padres’ only hit until Blanks singled with two outs in the seventh.
Fernandez stumbled and fell on a pickoff attempt to first base in the third inning, and his throw sailed wildly for his first error of the season. Logan Forsythe went to second on the play, but Chris Denorfia lined out to end the inning.
NOTES: After the game, the Marlins optioned 1B Jordan Brown to Triple-A New Orleans and recalled INF Donovan Solano. … Miami RHP Henderson Alvarez (shoulder) is scheduled to make his 2013 debut when he starts Thursday at Atlanta. The Marlins haven’t said whose spot in the rotation he’ll take. RHP Ricky Nolasco, the subject of trade speculation, is scheduled to pitch Wednesday. … The Padres won the season series 4-3.