Fernandez masterful as Marlins blank Phillies

The SportsXchange

PHILADELPHIA -- Miami Marlins rookie right-hander Jose Fernandez combined with two relievers on a one-hitter to earn his first major-league victory Saturday night, a 2-0 shutout of the Philadelphia Phillies.

But afterward, the 20-year-old Fernandez (1-2) was thinking solely of the big picture.

"It's more important for the team than for me," he said. "It's fun. Everybody's in a good mood. It's just fun."

The victory was a rare one for the Marlins, who at 9-22 have the worst record in the National League.

Fernandez allowed only a first-inning single to Freddy Galvis in a career-high seven innings. Using a fastball that reached speeds as high as 98 mph and a sharp breaking ball, he retired 17 straight hitters between Galvis' one-out hit in the first and a walk to Galvis leading off the seventh.

Fernandez struck out a career-high nine and walked one while throwing 82 pitches, 57 for strikes. Mike Dunn worked a perfect eighth, and Steve Cishek pitched around a one-out walk in the ninth to earn his fourth save.

"He threw some nasty pitches tonight, and held a tremendous lineup in check," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said of Fernandez.

Redmond has been impressed by the youngster's diligence to date.

"He's a worker," he said. "He studies film. He makes adjustments. He's got the pitches to make adjustments."

And he's eager, Redmond added.

"He couldn't wait to pitch tonight," he said. "He really couldn't wait to go and try to get a win for us tonight."

Fernandez had also pitched six shutout innings while taking a no-decision in an April 13 start against the Phillies in Miami. On Saturday he led the way as the Phils were one-hit for the first time since Aug. 30, 2010, at Los Angeles, and just the third time ever at Citizens Bank Park.

It was also the fifth time the Phillies have been shut out in 31 games this season. They were blanked only six times all last season.

"I think tonight was just a case of the guy, he's got a lot of talent and he was throwing good tonight," Phils manager Charlie Manuel said. "He was on. He brought his game to the yard today. He was on. He was really good. I've seen a lot of young pitchers. ... When you're good, you're good."

Cole Hamels (1-4) was the hard-luck loser, allowing four hits in eight innings -- two of those hits being solo homers by Marcell Ozuna and Chris Valaika. Hamels retired the last 13 hitters he faced.

Hamels, who struck out six and did not issue a walk, has pitched at least six innings in each of his last five starts and has not allowed more than three runs in any of them. But he has one victory, two losses and two no-decisions over that span, as the Phillies have managed to score just nine runs for him.

"I think he knows how to handle it," Manuel said, referring to the lack of run support. "He's matured and he's grown enough to know how to handle it. ... He was good tonight. He just ran into a better guy."

Ozuna and Valaika hit solo homers in the second and third, giving Miami a 2-0 lead. Valaika started at second base in place of Donovan Solano, who was a late scratch with tightness in his left side.

The home run by Ozuna, an outfielder playing in just his fifth game, was his first in the majors. It was the second for Valaika, who was playing in his 52nd major-league game over three years.

NOTES: MLB TV analyst Mitch Williams, a former Phillies closer, criticized Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee's performance in a radio interview Friday, leading to a sharp response from Phils pitcher Roy Halladay. Before Saturday's game Manuel added that Dubee is "a huge part of what we do here. I'll stand behind him thick or thin, or until I die." ... Galvis made his second start of the season at third base in place of Michael Young. ... Marlins reliever Ryan Webb pitched two scoreless innings Friday and has allowed just two earned runs in 15 1/3 innings over 11 appearances at Citizens Bank Park.
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