Jose Fernandez wins battle of aces as Marlins take opener from Dodgers
MIAMI (AP) — Ordinarily, Jose Fernandez against Clayton Kershaw would figure to be quite a pitchers’ duel.
Fernandez lived up to his end of the bargain.
The Miami ace tied a career high with 14 strikeouts, overshadowing Kershaw’s return from injury and leading the Marlins to a 4-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night.
Fernandez (14-8) gave up three hits and three walks in seven shutout innings. It was the fifth time he’s struck out 14 in a game, and third this season.
"It seems like that’s all I do lately. I can’t pass 14," Fernandez said.
That’s more than enough for the Marlins.
Fernandez was simply dominant, improving to 4-0 all-time against the Dodgers and 28-2 at Marlins Park. There have been 12 games in the majors this season when a pitcher has struck out 14 or more, and no one else has more than one.
His 102nd and last pitch — which fanned Yasiel Puig — hit 98 mph.
"He used his changeup more tonight and pitched inside more," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "He was good."
Fernandez is up to 238 strikeouts this year, 29 more than any Marlins pitcher has ever compiled in a season.
J.T. Realmuto homered and Christian Yelich had two hits for Miami, which improved to 5-0 against the NL West leaders this season. Yasmani Grandal hit his 25th homer in the ninth for the Dodgers, who tried to rally against Fernando Rodney before A.J. Ramos came in and closed it out for his career-best 33rd save — his first in more than a month.
Kershaw (11-3) had not started for the Dodgers since June 26 because of a mild disk herniation in his back. He threw 66 pitches, 46 for strikes, while allowing two runs and five hits over three innings.
The three-time Cy Young Award winner and 2014 NL MVP struck out five, did not walk a batter and now has 150 strikeouts against nine free passes in 2016.
"It’s not spring training for anybody else so it’s not for me, either," Kershaw said. "We’ve got to beat the Giants. We’ve got to win this division. I’m thankful for what the guys did while I was gone. They played unbelievable. They’re still playing unbelievable. I want to be a part of that. I want to help that. Tonight I didn’t really help. So I need to do that, pretty soon."
Kershaw wasn’t thrilled with his outing, but Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was.
"For Clayton to be back on the mound, I think that’s a win for us," Roberts said. "Fernandez was good, but the No. 1 thing was Clayton got out of this feeling pretty well. We didn’t expect him to be in midseason form anyway."
Mattingly is the third skipper in the last half-century to start 5-0 against the Dodgers — the team he managed from 2011-15. He joined Jack McKeon (with the Padres in 1988) and Sparky Anderson (with the Reds in 1970).
It was the 51st anniversary of the only Dodgers perfect game, Sandy Koufax’s 1-0 gem against the Chicago Cubs. Dennis Martinez — who pitched a perfect game for Montreal at Dodger Stadium in 1991 — threw out one of Friday’s ceremonial first pitches.
Plate umpire Brian Knight left the game in the fifth inning after getting struck in the mask and neck area by a ball that first hit Miami’s Ichiro Suzuki and deflected into Knight.
Dodgers: OF Andre Ethier (broken right leg) could make his season debut this weekend. … To make room for Kershaw when he was activated from the disabled list, Los Angeles put RHP Carlos Frias on the 60-day DL — making him the 28th Dodgers player on the DL this season.
Marlins: OF Giancarlo Stanton, limited to pinch-hitting duty, struck out with the bases loaded to end the fifth.
The series continues Saturday with LHP Rich Hill (11-3, 1.94 ERA; 8-0 in his last 10 starts) going for the Dodgers against RHP Tom Koehler (9-10, 3.87).