Home was sweet as usual for Jose Fernandez.
Back in his comfort zone of Marlins Park for the first time since a nine-run shelling in Atlanta last weekend, Fernandez made easy work of the Cincinnati Reds in a 3-1 victory on Friday night.
Fernandez is now 25-1 at Marlins Park with a 1.43 ERA in his career.
“I was actually thinking about it when I was warming up [Friday],” Fernandez said of his home success. “I was out there playing catch. You know what, this place makes me feel — I’m trying to figure it out — it’s like home. The fans. It’s just being home.”
Fernandez is an unspectacular 8-12 away from Marlins Park.
“I’m trying to make the adjustment to feel the same on the road,” he said.
The lone run the Reds scored off Fernandez in the fourth was unearned, the product of a pair of outfield errors by Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich.
Now it’s off to San Diego for Tuesday night’s All-Star Game for Fernandez, who closed out the first half with an 11-4 record. The 11 wins are the second-most ever by a Marlins pitcher at the All-Star break. Dontrelle Willis was 13-4 at the same point in 2005.
“Went shopping today,” he said of his San Diego wardrobe. “I’ve got to make some adjustments in the clothing, and some shoes.”
Yelich drove in two of the Marlins’ three runs with a first-inning double and a sixth-inning home run, his seventh of the season. The Marlins got their other run on a Derek Dietrich RBI single in the fourth.
Friday’s outing by Fernandez was a far cry from his Atlanta unraveling, when the Braves knocked him around for seven runs in one disastrous inning. He put that debacle behind him.
“Obviously, there was a lot of things to work on from [the] last start, a lot of adjustments to be made, and I think we made a couple,” Fernandez said.
Fernandez was sharp early, needing only 24 pitches — 20 of them thrown for strikes — to get through the first two innings. When he returned to the dugout after the second, Fernandez told pitching coach Juan Nieves that he felt on top of his game.
“I felt that I can put the ball wherever I want [Friday],” Fernandez said. “It’s a good feeling. That doesn’t really happen often.”
It was two of the Marlins’ better-fielding outfielders who cost him in the fourth, first when Stanton couldn’t come up with Billy Hamilton’s single and then when Yelich — a former Gold Glove winner — allowed Adam Duvall’s single to get past him.
Otherwise, Fernandez was rock solid. He struck out eight, had zero walks and came out after seven innings.
Two of the Marlins’ other All-Stars — Fernando Rodney and A.J. Ramos — took care of the rest, working scoreless innings in the eighth and ninth, respectively. Ramos recorded his 26th save.
The Marlins are four games over .500 at 45-41, which is exactly where they stood on May 6 when they were 16-12. They’ve been going back-and-forth for two months now.
Marlins manager Don Mattingly said he’s not satisfied.
“I know everybody’s excited,” Mattingly said. “But we’re four games over. And four games over is not going to get it done. We’ve got a ways to go. We’re getting better. This second half should be fun. If we play the kind of baseball we’re capable of, we have a chance to do something special.”