The Miami Marlins met the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday night in what would be the final start in a memorable season for Marlins rookie starter Jose Fernandez. Before the night was through, Fernandez would add a few more memories to his rookie campaign as he starred on the mound and at the plate.
Fernandez was not his usual dominant self in this start as he allowed at least one Braves hitter to reach in each of the first six innings of the game, but his teammates rallied behind him this time giving him a 4-0 lead through five innings. To his credit, Jose was able to hold the Braves scoreless through five despite the struggles before finally giving up a lead off homer to Evan Gattis in the sixth and that’s when the fun really started. Gattis admired the shot from the batter’s box before circling the bases.
Fernandez retired the side after the home run, but something about the Braves hitters that inning did not sit well with Jose. While walking off the mound, Fernandez was clearly jawing at the opposing dugout.
As fate would have it, Jose’s turn at bat came up in the bottom of the sixth and he capitalized on the moment by blasting his first career home run. Fernandez knew it was gone off the bat and stood at home plate admiring the ball. As you might expect, the Braves took exception and the benches cleared as Jose crossed home plate after a very slow trot. Order was quickly restored with no ejections or punches being thrown.
Fernandez came back out for his seventh inning of this game and final inning of the 2013 season. He worked a scoreless inning and ended it by striking out Justin Upton, his fifth strikeout of the game. In all, Fernandez worked 7 innings giving up 1 earned run on 5 hits and 3 bases on balls. Jose would end up throwing 101 pitches with 61 of them going for strikes in the 5-2 win for the Marlins.
The Marlins started their scoring in the bottom of the first as a Giancarlo Stanton single drove in the first run of the game. Logan Morrison would then follow with an RBI single of his own in the second inning. In the fifth, the Marlins extended their lead to 4-0 thanks to 2 run home run to straight away center-field off the bat of Stanton, his 20th. Fernandez would tack on the fifth and final run for the Fish on his homer in the sixth.
Jose Fernandez picked up the victory in his final start running his record to 12-6 on the season and Mike Minor took the loss for the Braves to fall to 13-7. Fernandez was the star on this night as he ended his season with a miniscule 2.19 ERA and a very impressive .220 batting average. The win was Fernandez’s 9th consecutive at home, which extends his team record and also improves his record to 5-0 at home when Stanton homers.
Up Next: The Marlins and Braves finish off the 4 game series on Thursday afternoon. Nathan Eovaldi (3-6) was scheduled to start for the Marlins, but was a late scratch because of a back issue flaring up. Brian Flynn will go for the Fish, against veteran Freddy Garcia (0-1) for the Braves.