Jose Fernandez is a man of steel at Marlins Park.
Put him on any other ballpark mound, though, and the Superman cape comes off.
Fernandez was rocked Friday at Petco Park, where he gave up a pair of homers, including a grand slam, in a 10-1 pounding by the Padres. It was the first time in his career he has given up more than one home run in a game, and he was fortunate the long ball damage wasn’t greater.
“It was a tough one,” Fernandez said. “Today I was a little shaky.”
Jedd Gyorko blasted a solo shot off Fernandez in the second inning before putting the game away in the sixth by crushing a grand slam into the second balcony of the Western Metal Supply warehouse in left.
The defeat dropped Fernandez’s record to 4-2 overall and ended the Marlins’ five-game winning streak. His other loss this season came in Philadelphia when he gave up six runs in only four innings to the Phillies.
“Just wasn’t his night,” said manager Mike Redmond. “You could tell from the first inning on he was up in the zone. They hit some balls hard off of him.”
There is a growing disparity between his home and road numbers. Though he’s never lost at Marlins Park, going 12-0 with a minuscule 1.09 ERA over 20 career starts there, he’s a far-from-stellar 4-8 with a 3.92 ERA in 15 career road outings.
“I’ve got to figure that out because I’m not going to pitch at home all the time,” he said.
He clearly wasn’t on his game on Friday. Most definitely he wasn’t the same pitcher who held the Padres to only three hits without a run in a victory at Marlins Park on April 5. His fastball velocity, which typically tops out in the high 90s, was down in the low 90s for much of the outing.
“Mostly my stuff wasn’t there, my fastball wasn’t there,” Fernandez said.
Fernandez said he didn’t feel particularly great beforehand after a steak he ate didn’t sit well with him. But he said it had no effect on his pitching — “not at all.”
Not only did Gyorko take him deep twice, but Fernandez was hammered a few other times as well. During one three-pitch sequence in the second, he gave up the Gyorko homer, a long out to the warning track in center by Cameron Maybin, and a double off the wall in right center by Yonder Alonso.
“I felt like they were not good pitches,” Fernandez said. “They were first-pitch fastballs. That was their plan, and obviously I didn’t see it early enough.”
Said Gyorko, whose costly 11th-inning fielding error Thursday preceded Giancarlo Stanton’s decisive home run: “We didn’t want to get the curve. That was going to be the approach, jump on the heater early.”
He might have given up yet another home run, other than the two Gyorko launched off him, had Stanton not prevented Seth Smith’s drive to right from going out. Stanton leaped high at the wall and got his glove on the ball before it could come down on the top padding, and Smith had to settle for a triple after the play was reviewed.
The sixth inning proved to be his undoing.
After giving up back-to-back singles to Everth Cabrera and Smith, followed by a four-pitch walk to Yasmani Grandal to load the bases, Gyorko walloped a 2-0 pitch for a grand slam, the first ever allowed by Fernandez.
The Padres — the worst-hitting team in the majors — added two more runs in the inning off Brad Hand.
It was another sluggish night offensively for the Marlins, who pulled out a 3-1 win in 11 innings on Thursday despite totaling just five hits. On Friday, the hit total came to just four, and only a Marcell Ozuna solo homer off Padres starter Tyson Ross in the seventh prevented a shutout.
Over the past four games, the Marlins have hit just .156.
“We didn’t get anything going offensively, so we didn’t help (Fernandez) there, either,” Redmond said. “We haven’t had a game like that for a long time, so we’ll turn the page and move on.”