Jose Fernandez was at his absolute worst on Friday.
And still he won. Just barely.
Fernandez remained unbeaten at Marlins Park, improving to 17-0 there and setting a major-league record in the process.
But the Marlins had to survive a late-inning scare and owed their 12-11 victory over the Braves not so much to Fernandez as they did to a hitting onslaught that preserved his perfect home mark.
After Fernandez gave up four runs in the first inning, the most runs he had ever allowed in any one game at his home park, much less one inning, he got them all back when the Marlins answered with four runs of their own in the first.
“Lucky, blessed,” Fernandez said about getting the record. “It feels special. I’m not going to lie. I thought about it.”
The Marlins continued their assault on Braves pitching, pounding out 20 hits, and Fernandez managed to remain on the mound for the requisite five innings to get the decision.
Fernandez became the first pitcher since 1900 to open his career with 17 home wins without a loss. But Friday wasn’t a typical outing for him in what was his final home start of the season.
The Braves pummeled him in a 35-pitch first inning, starting with a Nick Markakis leadoff homer, and even their outs were loud. He gave up a career-high nine hits and needed 96 pitches just to get through five innings.
But Fernandez received a wealth of offensive support.
Not only did Christian Yelich come within a home run of becoming the first Marlin to complete the cycle, but Justin Bour needed only a triple to do the same. The Marlins are the only major league team to have never had a player hit for the cycle.
It was Bour’s three-run homer off Ryan Weber in the first that got the ball rolling for the Marlins.
But after building a seemingly comfortable 11-4 lead, with every position player in the lineup contributing at least two hits, the Marlins almost let it collapse, as the as the Braves stormed back with two runs off Fernandez in the fifth, two in the seventh, and three in the eighth.
A.J. Ramos had to be brought in to work the ninth and preserve the win.
“The last two innings, I thought I was going to eat my whole finger,” Fernandez said.
THIS AND THAT
▪ After trying to get back on the mound for the Marlins, reliever Carter Capps said he finally “ran out of time” and will not pitch again this season.
Capps, who established himself as a formidable setup reliever out of the Marlins’ bullpen, last pitched on Aug. 2 before suffering a right elbow strain. He has been throwing bullpen sessions and on Thursday threw a simulation game.
But he said he was still feeling discomfort in his arm and decided the smart thing to do — with only nine games remaining — was just to shut down and wait for next season.
“I’ll definitely be [ready to go] in spring training,” he said. “I’ll do my normal throwing over the offseason.”
▪ The time is drawing near when Giancarlo Stanton will also have to decide whether it’s worth trying to make it back this season. Stanton has missed more than two months after breaking a bone in his hand.
“I think we’re getting close to that, where he’s either going to have a yea or a nay,” manager Dan Jennings said. “Really, within the next couple of days — this homestand — he’s at that point where he needs to feel like it is worth testing or it’s time to shut it down and build for 2016. I know, in his mind, he’s close to that.”
Stanton hasn’t taken batting practice in days.
▪ Dee Gordon has been voted MVP of the Marlins for 2015 by the Miami chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Gordon is vying for the league batting and stolen base titles, and could garner the Gold Glove Award for his play at second base.
Members of the local BBWAA chapter also announced its other annual winners: Rookie of the Year, catcher J.T. Realmuto; Charlie Hough “Good Guy,” Tom Koehler; Jeff Conine Award (for determined play and exemplary attitude): Adeiny Hechavarria.
▪ Saturday: Marlins LHP Justin Nicolino (3-4, 4.50 ERA) vs. Atlanta Braves RHP Julio Teheran (10-7, 4.20), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
▪ Sunday: Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (10-14, 3.94) vs. Atlanta Braves RHP Shelby Miller (5-16, 3.00), 1:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
Best home record by MLB pitcher to start career
Source: Elias Sports Bureau.