Losing doesn’t occur often with Jose Fernandez.
But in coming out on the short end Tuesday in a 3-2 loss to the Cubs, Fernandez found himself stuck in his first losing “streak” since early in his rookie season.
Fernandez lost back-to-back starts in the same season for only the second time. The only other time he did that was in April 2013 when he lost his third and fourth career starts.
“I’m not a machine,” Fernandez said. “I don’t really care about my own results or my own numbers. I honestly don’t give a (darn) about it. I care about us winning a ballgame and whatever it takes.”
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Making his pitching debut at Wrigley Field, Fernandez was done in by Dexter Fowler and a sputtering Marlins lineup that waited 16 innings in the series before coming up with its first runs.
And those two runs came only after the Cubs went to their bullpen for the first time in two days, as Adeiny Hechavarria and J.T. Realmuto ended the scoring drought with RBI singles in the seventh off reliever Pedro Strop.
Otherwise, the Marlins came up empty off Jason Hammel on Tuesday just as they did the day before when Kyle Hendricks delivered a complete-game shutout.
Fernandez looked a bit better than he did in his previous outing when he gave up five runs to the Cardinals in only five innings. But he is still not looking as sharp and dominant as he does when he’s at his best.
He made it through six innings, whiffing six to raise his career-high season total to 190.
“This may sound funny, but I felt strong today,” Fernandez said. “They’re a good team and you make a mistake here or there, and they’re going to get you. I feel good where I am right now. The result wasn’t there today.”
Fernandez endured his share of challenging moments.
The Cubs struck quickly when Fowler tripled to start the first for the Cubs before scoring on Willson Contreras’ infield single.
Fowler wasn’t finished.
He singled and stole second in the third inning before scoring on a fluke play. With one out and runners at first and second, Anthony Rizzo lofted a shallow fly to left that was caught by Christian Yelich.
Contreras, who had taken off for second, appeared to be easy prey for Yelich. But the outfielder’s throw back to first was high and pulled Chris Johnson off the bag. Not only did Contreras get back safely, but Fowler took off from third on the misfire and scored.
“Just a bad play,” Yelich said. “I just kind of lobbed it over there. There’s no excuse. It cost us the game. That throw is inexcusable. You’ve got to set your feet and make a good throw and I didn’t do that.”
In the fifth, Fowler’s RBI single made it 3-0.
After the Marlins scored twice in the seventh, they put the tying run aboard in the eighth when Marcell Ozuna singled with one out.
Marlins manager Don Mattingly sent in Dee Gordon to pinch-run for Ozuna, and the move backfired.
Gordon was picked off first by Hector Rondon. Derek Dietrich singled right after. But Chris Johnson lined to left to end the inning.
“I slipped on loose dirt,” Gordon said of the area near the bag. “They keep it a little loose, and it got me.”
Aroldis Chapman, the Cubs’ new closer, polished off the Marlins in the ninth.