Fernandez matches career-high 14 Ks in Marlins win over Harvey, Mets
MIAMI — When Jose Fernandez threw a slider for his 14th strikeout to escape a seventh-inning jam, he spun on the mound, pumped his arms, screamed, pounded his glove, screamed some more and yanked at his jersey as though trying to tear it off.
He had completed a good day’s work. Fernandez tied his career high for strikeouts and outpitched a resurgent Matt Harvey to help the Miami Marlins avert a series sweep by beating the shorthanded New York Mets 1-0 Sunday.
Fernandez (9-2) won his eighth consecutive start to tie Chris Hammond’s team record, set in the franchise’s first season in 1993.
Fernandez allowed four hits, including consecutive two-out singles in the seventh. He escaped by striking out Wilmer Flores with his 100th and final pitch, and was demonstrative in his celebration as he stomped to the dugout while the crowd of 28,196 roared.
"The fans — that was for them," Fernandez said. "I felt the cheering and the love."
Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto wasn’t surprised his ace rose to the occasion.
"The inner animal comes out," Realmuto said.
The home crowd always brings out the best in the Cuban defector, who is 23-1 with a 1.53 ERA in 33 career starts at Marlins Park.
— MLB (@MLB) June 5, 2016
"That just tells you how good he is," manager Don Mattingly said.
After Fernandez departed, David Phelps bounced back from a poor outing Saturday with a 1-2-3 eighth. A.J. Ramos pitched a perfect ninth for his 27th consecutive save, including 18 this year, but not without a scare.
Neil Walker flied out to the warning track in center to end the game, and Ramos feared the ball might clear the fence.
"As soon as he hit I went, `No way,’" Ramos said. "I thought he got it. I was a little nervous on that one."
The Mets finished with four hits, Miami five.
"It was one of those game where you have a great pitching match-up head to head, and that’s exactly what you would expect — a 1-0 game," Mets manager Terry Collins said.
Harvey (4-8) pitched well for the second outing in a row after a succession of poor starts. He went seven innings, allowed the game’s lone run and lowered his ERA to 4.95.
"Going deep into the game and feeling pretty good, it’s definitely a positive," Harvey said. "The massive struggles that happened before, the only thing you want to think of is not letting that kind of creep back in."
Neither starter gave up a walk. Each allowed only one baserunner in the first four innings.
Miami scored the only run in the fifth when Derek Dietrich doubled off the wall and Realmuto hit an RBI single with one out.
The Mets’ starting lineup was without outfielders Yoenis Cespedes and Juan Lagares, both nursing injuries, and captain David Wright, who went on the disabled list Friday. Cespedes, slowed by a sore right hip, flied out as a pinch hitter in the eighth.
By Realmuto’s count, 12 of Fernandez’s 14 strikeouts came on sliders.
"He had the best slider he has thrown all year," Realmuto said. "He’ll throw it different speeds and shapes. He’s able to play with it."
Marlins right fielder Ichiro Suzuki robbed Michael Conforto with a leaping catch on the warning track in the fifth. Fernandez showed his appreciation with a wave of the cap to his 42-year-old teammate.
"He told me, `Routine flyball,’" Fernandez said with a smile.
That play helped Fernandez retire 15 in a row as the Mets’ frustration grew. When Asdrubal Cabrera struck out to end the sixth, he angrily slapped his bat toward the dugout.
"Tough day at the plate," Conforto said. "It’s always going to be tough when you’re going up against a guy like him."
Miami slugger Giancarlo Stanton, who is 8 for 73 (.110) in his past 21 games, who given the day off.
Mets: Lagares sprained his left thumb when he made a diving catch Saturday, and it was heavily wrapped. "There’s a little bit of swelling but no pain," he said. He was to be further evaluated Monday.
Before the game, the Marlins optioned RHP Cody Hall to Triple-A New Orleans and recalled RHP Brian Ellington.
Mets: They open a three-game series at Pittsburgh on Monday, with LHP Steven Matz (7-1, 2.60) scheduled to start against LHP Jon Niese (5-2, 4.36).
Marlins: After an off day, they face the Minnesota Twins for the first time since 2013 on Tuesday, with Adam Conley (3-3, 3.72) scheduled to start the series opener in Minneapolis.