All that's left for Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez is to finish off one of these masterpieces. Continuing a career-long trend of domination, Fernandez allowed two hits and struck out eight over eight scoreless innings in a 9-0 victory against the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday night.
Fernandez added an RBI single, and he also made an insanely great defensive play — fooling Tyler Pastornicky by faking to first and throwing home to keep Atlanta off the board in the third. It might have been the savviest move of the year so far in Major League Baseball.
Fernandez totaled 98 pitches along the way and, with his team giving him such grandiose run support, manager Mike Redmond used reliever Carlos Marmol to finish the game. Fernandez also has accumulated some amazing stats in his young career — including a 1.51 ERA over 24 starts dating back to June. The one stat he might be missing: Fernandez has yet to throw a complete game (and, by extension, a shutout) in 34 career starts.
''I'll get it sometime,'' Fernandez said.
At 21 years old, he's got a ways to go. Really, you Marlins hitters. Giving a pitcher like Fernandez nine runs of support is like throwing $100 bills at Mitt Romney (and having a guy Romney hired collect them off the ground after they bounce harmlessly off Romney's teeth).
In the meantime, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez is getting sick of losing to Fernandez, who has allowed a total of three runs in four career starts against Atlanta. (He's also 12-0 with a 1.00 ERA at home for his career.)
''We have to figure out how to beat Fernandez,'' Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. ''Not everybody is Cy Young, and you still have to beat Cy Young every once in a while.''
Well, not necessarily.
FOUR MEN OUT AND BREWERS DECK CARDS ANYWAY:
The Milwaukee Brewers improved their record to a major-league best 20-7 after beating the St. Louis Cardinals in extra innings for the second straight night at Busch Stadium. Lyle Overbay singled home Khris Davis with the tiebreaking run in the 11th for a 5-4 victory, which happened despite the Brewers playing without Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez, Jean Segura and Jonathan Lucroy. The first three were nursing respective injuries, and Lucroy was due a day off.
No matter, said Overbay, who missed on two bunt attempts before connecting for a single up the middle against Kevin Siegrist after Davis had led off with a double. Overbay, who has been swinging well since coming back from paternity leave — he's 10 for 19 during an eight-game hitting streak — joked that he and the wife might have to get to work on having child No. 6.
The Cardinals fell to 14-14 but, as young slugger Matt Adams noted, "It's April." Plenty of time to right the ship.
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A'S HALT SCORELESS STREAK FOR PEREZ: Texas Rangers left-hander Martin Perez was working on a 26-inning scoreless streak until the Oakland Athletics figured him out. Derek Norris hit a two-run double in the first inning and the A's were off to the races in a 9-3 victory at Globe Life Park. Perez's streak included a three-hitter fired at the A's six days earlier. He began the day with the AL's top ERA but the A's, as they often do, waited out Perez and made him throw strikes they could hit.
''They were taking those low pitches, forcing him to bring the ball a little up in the strike zone,'' Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos said. ''They put a good swing on everything he was throwing up in the strike zone. I think that was the difference between last week and today.''
Norris is in a 10-for-17 streak after going 2 for 5 with three RBIs. The A's have the AL's best record at 17-10. The Rangers fell to 15-12 after losing their third straight for the first time this season. They're also 0-6 on manager Ron Washington's birthday. He turned 62 on Tuesday.
VICTORINO COLLECTS FOUR HITS IN BOSTON VICTORY:
Victorino, playing in his fourth game of the season after missing 22 with a hamstring injury, raised his batting average from .133 to .316 by going 4 for 4 in a 7-4 victory against the Rays.
Via the Associated Press, manager John Farrell said of Victorino:
''We knew it was going to take a couple of games for him to get his feet on the ground. He does give us a completely different dynamic in that 2-hole. When we can set the table for that middle of the order, we've got a chance to score some runs.''
Temperatures dipped into the 40s at Fenway — not exactly Maui-type conditions — so Red Sox right-hander John Lackey tried to work fast. He scattered two runs and six hits against the Rays, who have dropped four of five on their road trip so far.
And then there's this note from WEEI's Alex Speier:
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