Apr 23, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Miami Marlins starting pitcher Jose Fernandez (16) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Jose Fernandez gave up a first inning single to Freddy Galvis on Saturday night, and then didn’t give up anything more, as the Marlins beat the Phillies 2-0 behind a gem of a pitching performance by the youngster. Fernandez retired 17 in a row after allowing the single until he walked Galvis in the 7th inning. After 82 pitches, he eventually yielded to Mike Dunn and Steve Cishek, who closed out the game to give the Cuban-born hurler his first big league win.
Fernandez ended the game with a sparkling pitching line: 7 innings, 1 hit, 1 walk, and 9 strikeouts. The strikeouts, a personal best, were impressive – five came his curveball (nicknamed The Defector), while the other four came on fastballs that averaged 96 miles per hour. The one-hit shutout was the first for the Marlins since Anibal Sanchez threw a complete game in September of 2011.
On any other night, the Marlins’ offense may have been impotent enough to lose this game. The Marlins were only able to amass four hits on the night, but there were two big ones. The first was a solo home run in the second inning by prospect Marcell Ozuna, who has now hit in all five of his major league games. Ozuna’s father, sister, and nephew were on hand to witness the first of what will hopefully be many major league home runs. Chris Valaika hit a home run of his own in the following inning. Placido Polanco and Miguel Olivo had a single a piece, and Ozuna drew the only walk of the game for the Marlins.
According to ESPN Stats and Information, Fernandez is just the fourth pitcher in the past 90 years to throw 7 or more scoreless innings, strike out 9 or more batters, and give up just 1 hit or fewer while age 20 or younger. Other members of the club include Kerry Wood (1998), Dwight Gooden (1984), and Bob Feller (1939, twice).
Up next: The Marlins try to split the series with Philadelphia on Sunday. Kevin Slowey will pray for some run support as the Marlins face a strange version of Roy Halladay, who has a 6.75 ERA so far this season.