If 20-year-old Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez repeats performances like Monday’s 4-0 snuffing of San Diego, a pitcher raised in the era of ubiquitous video might throw pitching preparation back to the days of daytime World Series games.
Fernandez took copious notes on the Padres throughout the first three games of the series. Then, he told catcher Jeff Mathis during their pregame meeting, “This time, I didn’t look at the videos. I didn’t do anything. I trust you. I know you’re going to do your stuff.”
Mathis did his stuff — “I checked him one time. It was the last guy I faced because I wanted to throw one changeup in the game” — and Fernandez did his. He gave up only two hits, struck out 10 and walked only one in eight innings, then bounced around the dugout while A.J. Ramos and Steve Cishek took care of the ninth.
Fernandez (5-4), who said he felt good after five pregame pitches, gave up a double in the first but struck out the side in the second.
“It was incredible, tempo-wise,” Fernandez said of the chemistry he had with Mathis. “You’re just throwing. He’s calling, you’re throwing.”
After the Marlins broke through on San Diego starter Jason Marquis with an RBI single by Marcell Ozuna in the sixth, Mathis brought in three runs with a two-out double. That gave him seven RBI in his past two bases-loaded situations. He homered Sunday to give the Marlins a walk-off win.
Marquis (9-4) did his part to keep the pace quick in the 2-hour, 27-minute game. The Marlins didn’t get a hit until the fifth inning.
Ozuna said he thought he had broken up the no-hitter in the fourth. With Giancarlo Stanton on first and Logan Morrison on second after consecutive walks opened the fourth, Ozuna smashed a laser that shortstop Pedro Ciriaco’s diving snag interrupted with the sound still in the air.
The first two Marlins reached base again in the fifth, Derek Dietrich and Adeiny Hechavarria singling. After Fernandez struck out, as is the pitchers’ wont, left fielder Justin Ruggiano slapped a grounder to Ciriaco. A routine grounder found drama when Ciriaco lost his footing just before arrival. Still, from his seat, he fired to second to start a 6-4-3 double play that ended the inning.
“I don’t even know how I made the throw,” Ciriaco said. “I just fell and threw it over.”
So, when Ed Lucas grounded to Ciriaco to open the sixth, this looked like the start of nothing big. But Ciriaco’s throw was high and down the line, preventing first baseman Kyle Blanks from even make a sweeping tag as the ducking Lucas passed.
“We have to be focused and make routine plays,” Ciriaco said. “I just rushed a little bit.”
Stanton walked. Morrison lined out to bring up Ozuna again. His at-bat almost ended with a foul popup that just floated far enough into the Padres’ dugout to keep catcher Yasmani Grandal from making a clean play on it.
Marlins manager Mike Redmond, a former catcher, and Ozuna thought the Marlins had gotten another chance. Ozuna made it pay off with a single just over the outstretched glove of Logan Forsythe to give the Marlins a 1-0 lead.
Ozuna said, “If he threw me away, I was going to make contact and put it into play.”
An intentional walk to Dietrich and a Hechavarria strikeout later, Mathis drove the ball off the left-field wall. That’s all the runs he, his non-video-watching pitcher and his team would need.