In two starts against the Washington Nationals this season before tonight's matchup in Marlins Park, 23-year-old Miami right-hander Jose Fernandez was (2-0) with a 1.38 ERA, seven walks and 20 Ks in 13 innings, over which Nats' hitters had a combined .156/.278/.267 line.
Fernandez held the Nationals to one run on three hits back in mid-April, striking out nine batters in six innings of work in a 6-1 win in Miami.
He struck out 11 batters in seven innings, giving up four hits and one run last week in Nationals Park, in the Marlins' 5-1 win in the nation's capital.
In his third outing of the season against the Marlins' divisional rivals, Fernandez, who was (5-0) in eight career starts vs the Nationals, was back in South Florida, where the first round pick in the 2011 Draft had a (20-1) record, a 1.65 ERA and a .184/.246/.264 line against in 30 starts and 191 ⅓ innings pitched early in his major league career.
Fernandez improved to (6-0) career against the Nationals and (21-1) career in Marlins Park when the Marlins evened the series up with a 3-1 win in the second game of three in Miami.
Washington wasted leadoff baserunners in the first and second innings, with a questionable catcher's interference call hurting them in the first and a strike'em out, throw'em out double play erasing a runner in the second, but they cashed in a first-and-third, two-out opportunity in the fourth when Clint Robinson singled to center to drive in a run for an early 1-0 lead.
Robinson improved to 3 for 8 with a home run and two RBIs career vs Fernandez with the RBI single.
Miami tried to answer right back in the bottom of the fourth inning, with Giancarlo Stanton walking and going first-to-third on a double to left field by Marcell Ozuna, but after an intentional walk to Marlins' first baseman Justin Bour loaded the bases, Ross struck J.T. Realmuto out with an 0-2 slider and got a grounder to the mound from Adeiny Hechavarria to end the threat.
Ichiro Suzuki was 3 for 3 with three of the Nationals' four hits off Joe Ross after he reached on a fly to left that a sliding Chris Heisey couldn't catch in the fifth. An error on a pickoff throw to first allowed Suzuki to take third with one out, and he scored on an opposite field single to right by Martin Prado, 1-1.
Ozuna came up big again in the sixth, with a leadoff triple to center field off Ross and he scored on a two-run blast to right by Justin Bour, who bounced a 2-0 changeup off the facade of the second deck, 3-1.
• Joe Ross vs Marlins: 5.2 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 Ks, 1 HR, 96 P, 60 S, 9/0 GO/FO.
• Jose Fernandez vs Nats: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9Ks, 99P, 61S, 3/3 GO/FO.
Kyle Barraclough worked around a two-out walk in a scoreless seventh. David Phelps worked around a two-out single in a scoreless top of the eighth.
A.J. Ramos came on in the ninth... and gave up back-to-back-to-back singles by Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy and Wilson Ramos, 3-2. Michael A. Taylor came on to run for Ramos at first.
Anthony Rendon walked to load'em up, but Jayson Werth grounded into a force at third and Martin Prado threw home to get Murphy for a big double play. 5-2 DP. Two down. Jose Lobaton stepped in with the tying run on second and hit a groundout to first. Ballgame.
Nationals now 26-17
• NATS NOTES:
- Jose Fernandez started the night (5-0) with a 1.09 ERA in eight career starts against Washington.
- Fernandez was (20-1) in 30 career starts in Marlins Park with a 1.65 ERA at home in Miami, making him just the second pitcher in the so-called "live-ball era" to win 20 of his first 30 home starts along with New York Mets' right-hander Dwight Gooden (22-4), 1.84 ERA.
- With his 11 Ks against the Nationals last time out, Fernandez has 405 Ks total in 55 major league starts.
- Washington's won 6 of 11 games with Miami thus far this season, averaging 3.0 runs per game in their wins, while the Marlins have averaged 4.2 runs in their wins.
- In today's Marlins-themed "Fun with Arbitrary End Points" segment, Marcell Ozuna is 29 for 75 (.387 AVG) since April 30th, with at least one hit in 18 of his last 19 games.
- Ryan Zimmerman's home run last night was the 28th of his career vs the Marlins, behind only former Phillie Chase Utley (30) and current Phillies' first baseman Ryan Howard (39) for the most total HRs vs Florida/Miami.
- Since Anthony Rendon moved to the six-hole in the Nationals' lineup, the third baseman is 8 for 14 with two doubles and a .625 OBP.
- In today's Nationals-themed "Fun with Arbitrary End Points" segment: Washington's bullpen has posted a 0.62 ERA and 9.9 K/9 while surrendering just three extra base hits... since May 9th.Nats' reliever Shawn Kelley is one of only two major league relievers with at least 10 IP who has yet to allow a run.
- Bryce Harper starts the night leading the majors in OBP (.451), walks (46) and intentional walks (12).
- Daniel Murphy has 20 multi-hit games in 41 games played this season, and he's hit safely in 16 of his last 21 games, going 33 for 82 over that stretch, for a .402 AVG.
- Murphy started the night leading the majors in AVG (.387), multi-hit games (20) and OPS (1.039).
Nationals now 26-17