Marlins Park has become Jose Fernandez’s house.
He just about owns the place, although he might consider leaving room for Ichiro Suzuki.
With the Marlins’ 3-2 victory over the first-place Nationals on Saturday night, Fernandez improved his career record in his home park to 21-1 with yet another stellar performance.
And Ichiro collected four hits to raise his career total to 2,954.
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“To me, Ichiro is a god,” Fernandez said.
Fernandez isn’t any slouch, himself. He is now 6-0 in nine career starts against Washington.
After the Nationals took a 1-0 lead in the fourth on Clint Robinson’s sharp single, the Marlins made sure Fernandez wouldn’t suffer a rare loss by coming up with a run in the fifth and two more in the sixth on Justin Bour’s eighth home run.
Fernandez finished with nine strikeouts in six innings.
“Jose kind of set the tone for us,” said manager Don Mattingly, who attended his son’s graduation in Texas on Saturday but still made it back to Miami in time for the game. “He’s smoothing out. He had a really good fastball tonight.”
With Christian Yelich scratched from the lineup with back spasms, his replacement, Ichiro, made the most of the opportunity by coming up with his first four-hit game since August of last season. He needs one more hit to tie Willie Keeler for 32nd place on the all-time list.
“Ichiro tonight was amazing,” Mattingly said.
It was Ichiro’s one-out single off Joe Ross in the fifth that got the ball rolling for the Marlins. Ross’ pickoff throw to first got past Robinson, allowing Ichiro to get to third. Martin Prado followed with an RBI single to tie the score.
After Marcell Ozuna tripled to lead off the sixth, Bour scorched a two-run shot off the upper-deck face in right to put the Marlins on top. Ozuna also singled and doubled in four at-bats.
But it was yet another poor night at the plate for Giancarlo Stanton, who went 0 for 3 with three strikeouts. He did walk once.
Stanton is now 0 for his last 18 with 15 strikeouts and 4 for his last 48 overall.
“He’s our guy,” said Mattingly, who continues to show his unwavering support for the slugger by leaving him in the lineup. “But if we’re going to be in this thing long-term, G’s going to get hot, and he’s going to carry us for a big chunk of the season somewhere in there. You don’t run from your guys.”
The Marlins survived a big scare in the ninth when the Nationals came up with a run to make it 3-2 and had the bases loaded with no outs. But A.J. Ramos got Jayson Werth to ground to third, where Prado stepped on the bag and threw home to complete the double play.
“Great play,” Mattingly said. “Obviously, to get out of that was huge for us.”
Ramos then retired Jose Lobaton on an easy grounder to record his 22nd consecutive save.