Marlins roll through Padres to improve to best start since 2009
MIAMI (AP) — Jose Fernandez allowed his first two walks of the season, and they came back to back. When his foot slipped on a delivery, the pitch bounced several feet in front of the plate. One frustrating inning ended with the Miami Marlins’ precocious ace shaking his head and screaming angrily into his glove.
Fernandez was at less than his best Saturday, but still good enough to beat the San Diego Padres. He struck out eight in 6 2-3 innings while lowering his ERA to 0.71, and Miami beat the punchless San Diego Padres 5-0.
The Marlins improved to 5-1, their best start since 2009. Last year their fifth victory came in their 21st game, and they finished with 100 losses.
"Another win. It’s incredible," Fernandez said. "To be 5-1 is pretty amazing."
Fernandez (2-0) improved his career record at home to 11-0 despite being miffed about a high pitch count early in the game.
"He’s such a great competitor," manager Mike Redmond said. "He wasn’t as sharp as I’ve seen. But his stuff is so good, he still has the ability to make his pitches when he needs to."
Fernandez, who threw 108 pitches, left the game annoyed after throwing a wild pitch on a strikeout that allowed Alexi Amarista to reach base with two outs in the seventh. But he allowed only three hits and two walks.
"I threw a lot of pitches — not what I wanted to do," Fernandez said. "But we won. That’s what I care about."
Three relievers followed to complete a five-hitter.
Giancarlo Stanton had two RBIs to increase his season total to 11, one more than teammate Casey McGehee, who began the day leading the NL. Four of the Marlins’ runs scored with two outs.
"There’s a lot of good stuff going on right now," Redmond said.
Andrew Cashner (0-1) allowed only two runs in six innings, but the offensively challenged Padres reached a new low — for the first time, they were shut out. They’ve scored eight runs this season, worst in the majors, and have lost four in a row since a win on opening day.
The Padres went 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position and are batting .108 (4 for 37) in those situations.
"Collectively as a group, we’re not swinging the bats well," manager Bud Black said. "We are in a team-wide situation that we’re not swinging. We don’t have one guy that’s swinging the bat well. Inversely, you look at the Marlins they have guys who are swinging well. And that’s what happens. It’s cyclical during the course of a season."
San Diego’s best threat against Fernandez came when he walked two to load the bases with the score 0-0 in the third, but he escaped when Seth Smith hit into an inning-ending double play.
The game drew a crowd of 35,188, including Miami Heat owner Micky Arison and president Pat Riley, who chatted briefly with Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria.
Stanton’s run-scoring single in the third gave the Marlins a 1-0 lead, which looked hefty with Fernandez on the mound.
"We knew once we got that one run, we had a good chance," catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said.
Notes: Marlins 2B Rafael Furcal (hamstring) is scheduled to report Monday to extended spring training in Jupiter, Fla., with rehabilitation assignments to follow. He likely won’t be activated until April 20 at the earliest. … Padres RHP Casey Kelly was scheduled to pitch in a simulated game Saturday, but the workout was postponed at least two days because he was feeling discomfort in his surgically repaired elbow, Black said. The setback isn’t believed to be significant. … Padres RHP Tyson Ross will get an extra day of rest before his next start Tuesday at Cleveland. Black said he made the move in part so the two left-handers in the rotation wouldn’t pitch back to back. … Stanton has two homers in eight at-bats against RHP Ian Kennedy (0-1, 5.40), who is scheduled to start Sunday for the Padres. RHP Nathan Eovaldi (1-0, 3.00) will start for Miami.