CINCINNATI (AP) — Jose Fernandez learned what it’s like to pitch in the majors without a reliable breaking ball.
It’s not very pretty.
Fernandez got roughed up for the first time in his three big league starts, and the Cincinnati Reds pulled away to an 11-1 victory on Thursday night, their fourth win in a row.
Shin-Soo Choo singled, doubled and scored twice against Fernandez (0-1), who had his 98 mph fastball on target but not much else.
The right-hander lasted only four innings, giving up five runs and seven hits while taking his first big league loss.
“It’s not going to be the first time, it’s not going to be the last time,” Fernandez said. “I’ll just try to get better.”
Miami fell to 3-13, worst in the majors. The Marlins have been shut out or limited to one run in nine of their games.
Right fielder Giancarlo Stanton was back in the Miami lineup after missing six games with a bruised left shoulder. He committed two errors, including one that let a run score.
The Reds also started a young pitcher. Left-hander Tony Cingrani needed a lot of pitches, but extended the Reds’ recent trend of solid starts.
“If anything, I might’ve been a little too relaxed,” the 23-year-old Cingrani said. “It’s a different mindset. Around the fifth, I started feeling comfortable. Giving up one run in five innings is not too bad.”
The left-hander gave up five hits, including Justin Ruggiano’s solo homer, in five innings, striking out eight and throwing 102 pitches in his first start in the majors.
It was the right time and place for Cincinnati to start a rookie. The Reds have the best home record in the majors at 8-2.
And, they’ve been on quite a splurge offensively. They’ve scored 22 runs with 27 hits in their past two games. It’s the first time they’ve had back-to-back games with at least 11 runs since they beat Houston 12-2 and 15-6 at Great American Ball Park in 2010.
The 20-year-old Fernandez had allowed only one run in his first two major league starts, giving up a total of five hits to the Mets and Phillies. He fanned Choo on a 97 mph fastball to open the Reds’ first, quite a good start.
Didn’t do so well the second time through the order. Choo and Zack Cozart singled with two outs in the third. Fernandez threw a wild pitch that allowed Choo to score from third.
“I don’t know if there was anything different,” Cozart said. “When you’re facing a guy for the first time, you don’t know how he pitches. He’s young and he throws hard but to his credit, he knows how to pitch. I guess the difference was we kind of got used to him.”
It fell apart for Fernandez in the fourth, when Cincinnati sent eight batters to the plate for four runs. The Reds put together a walk, three singles, Choo’s RBI double and a sacrifice fly by Devin Mesoraco for a 5-1 lead, ending Fernandez’s outing.
“He’s got great stuff,” manager Mike Redmond said. “The big leagues are tough. It’s tough to pitch. We’ve got scouts, we’ve got video. Believe me, it’s not like he’s a secret anymore. The word is out.”
Todd Frazier added a two-run homer off John Maine as the Reds pulled away.
The Marlins came in with a .209 team batting average, 32 runs and three homers, all the fewest in the majors. The series opener on Thursday represented a chance to nudge those numbers up — facing a rookie pitcher in a homer-friendly ballpark with the wind blowing out to left field.
Ruggiano hit a solo shot to left field in the fourth inning, making him the first Marlin with more than one homer this season. He was the only Marlin to reach third base.
Cingrani made three relief appearances for the Reds last September and was first in line for a promotion if the Reds needed a starter. He took the place of Johnny Cueto, who went on the 15-day
NOTES: Miami put SS Adeiny Hechavarria on the 15-day disabled list with a sore throwing arm and called up INF Nick Green from Triple-A New Orleans. … The Reds optioned RH reliever Justin Freeman to Triple-A Louisville to open a roster spot for Cingrani. … Redmond on what it would be like if Great American had a home run sculpture like the one at Marlins Park: “That thing would be going nonstop. They’d have to have a backup generator.”