Despite giving up just one run, Marlins manager Mike Redmond felt 19-year-old starter Jose Fernandez was struggling Tuesday night.
So down a run with one out and a runner on third, Redmond pinch-hit for Fernandez. Miami got its run and tied the score, but Fernandez’s night was done.
The Marlins’ bullpen promptly gave the Phillies their lead back — and more — as Philadelphia scored six runs once Fernandez left for a 7-3 win at Marlins Park.
“At that point of the game we went after the run,’’ Redmond said. “I thought [Fernandez] did his job. Had he breezed through that game, he wouldn’t have been at 80 pitches in the fifth. We just didn’t hold it down.’’
Miami’s modest winning streak ends at two as Fernandez’s five innings marked his shortest outing since being pulled after giving up two runs in four innings against the Mets on April 29.
The last-place Marlins have won consecutive games only three times this season; Miami’s season-high three-game winning streak came April 28-30.
Fernandez wasn’t at his sharpest on Tuesday, but the 19-year-old was most certainly good.
The Phillies scored their only run against him in the fourth when Delmon Young hit a 2-2 delivery out near the home run sculpture in left-center field.
Other than that, the Phillies only challenged Fernandez and the Marlins.
“I thought [Fernandez] pitched OK, he had to work hard through those five innings,’’ Redmond said. “He wasn’t as sharp as I had seen him over the past couple of starts. He was grinding out there. But he kept us in the game, gave us a chance to win. He was just running out of pitches there.’’
Had Miami’s bats given Fernandez a little more support he probably would have lasted longer.
Instead, Placido Polanco — batting seventh — led off the fifth with a double to left and moved to third on Rob Brantley’s grounder to second.
With one out and a runner at third in a game he was trailing 1-0, Redmond made the tough decision and pulled his starting pitcher in exchange for pinch-hitter Jordan Brown.
The move paid off, in the short term, as Brown lofted a fly ball to left field. Domonic Brown’s throw was off and Polanco scored the tying run.
Philadelphia led 2-1 minutes after Fernandez was pulled. Lefty Duane Below — making his Miami debut after being waived by Detroit last month — gave up a single to Ryan Howard and a double to straightaway center to Delmon Young.
Domonic Brown brought Howard home with a soft grounder on the right side of the infield for a 2-1 lead.
That soft shot to second was a sign of things to come as the Phillies barely got the ball out of the infield in the next inning yet broke things open by scoring four runs.
Below (0-1) gave up infield singles to open the seventh before Ryan Webb came in. The Phillies loaded the bases on Michael Young’s infield fielder’s choice; Howard opened up the base paths with a two-run single that made it a 4-1 game.
The Phillies added two more with Webb on the mound on a grounder to third from Delmon Young and a sharp single from Brown.
“It happens. We tried to hang in there and keep it close,’’ Redmond said. “Their big boys in the middle of the lineup produced. Sometimes you tip your hat to them. They get paid a lot of money to drive in runs.’’
Philadelphia got seven innings from starter Tyler Cloyd (1-0) as he didn’t give up his second run until there were two outs in the seventh and the Phillies had a comfortable lead.
Fernandez’s night got off to a rough start with Jimmy Rollins leading off the game with a single before taking second on a passed ball.
Rollins made it to third but didn’t make it home after Derek Dietrich fielded Michael Young’s grounder to second. Dietrich zipped a throw to catcher Rob Brantley, who put the tag on Rollins trying to score.
Fernandez got out of the inning when Dietrich played back in the outfield grass and threw out Howard — who ended up going 3 for 5 with three RBI.