On a night when the guys who brought together the Heat’s Big 3 sat four rows behind the owner of Miami’s baseball team, the Marlins’ Dynamic Duo — Jose Fernandez and Giancarlo Stanton — delivered once again.
Fernnadez tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings, struck out eight and dropped his ERA to 0.71. Stanton, a day after crushing a Marlins Park-record 484-foot home run, drove in two more runs to raise his season total to 11. And the Marlins continued their stellar start to 2014 on Saturday, clinching their second series victory in a row with a 5-0 shutout of the Padres.
“Just a lot of good stuff going on right now,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. “Guys are feeling good. Hopefully, we can finish this homestand with a bang.”
The fourth-largest crowd in Marlins Park history — a collection of 35,188 fans, including Heat owner Micky Arison and team president Pat Riley — took delight in seeing the home team improve to 5-1 on University of Miami Family Night.
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Redmond said the players felt the electricity in the building. Fernandez, last year’s National League Rookie of the Year, was his usual self, even if he wasn’t flawless. The 21-year-old right-hander issued his first two walks of the season — back-to-back — in the third inning and showed signs of frustration throughout.
But he got out of a bases-loaded jam in the third with a double play and still put on a show, scattering three hits and striking out eight. Fernandez threw 108 pitches, one shy of his career high, and 69 went for strikes.
“The slider was just so effective [Saturday night],” catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said. “Guys knew it was coming, and it was still pretty tough to lay off of.”
Fernandez’s last pitch was swung and missed by Padres center fielder Ale Amarista, but it bounced past Saltalamacchia, allowing the runner to reach first. Fernandez had a scowl on his face as Redmond took the ball from him.
“That’s kind of who I am. I like to keep pitching,” said Fernandez, who improved to 11-0 with a 1.14 ERA in his first 17 starts at home.
Said Redmond: “He’s the ultimate perfectionist. He wants to do everything. He wants to hit. He wants to steal bases. He told me the reason he was moving out there at second base [in the third inning] was because he wanted to steal. I said, ‘Come on man, that’s not your job.’ But that’s the beauty of Jose. He’s always thinking. I sometimes sit there and start laughing. You try to have a game face on, but sometimes when I sit there I just start laughing. He’s such a competitor. It’s just a different vibe when he’s out there. I think [Saturday] we all felt that.”
Reliever A.J. Ramos quickly ended the seventh inning when he struck out former Hurricane and pinch-hitter Yasmani Grandal. The Marlins bullpen took over from there. Mike Dunn pitched the eighth, and Carlos Marmol handled the ninth.
The Marlins, who hit .231 last season with runners in scoring position, scored four of their five runs with two-out hits Saturday and finished 4 for 12 with runners in scoring position. They’re hitting .343 with runners in scoring position (24 for 70) this season.
Stanton put the Marlins ahead 1-0 in the third when his hard chopper bounced off the glove of third baseman Chase Headley and scurried into left field, allowing Fernandez to score easily from second.
Derek Dietrich then helped end the night for Padres ace Andrew Cashner when he smacked a first-pitch line drive to right in the sixth, scoring Garrett Jones from second.