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Fernandez, Stanton help deliver Marlins's 3-2 win

The SportsXchange

MIAMI -- The Pittsburgh Pirates lead the majors in ERA and are battling for the lead in National League Central.

The Miami Marlins have the worst record in the NL and are last in the majors in scoring runs.

Yet the Marlins took two out of three in the weekend series and won Sunday's game in impressive fashion, perhaps catching the Pirates looking ahead.

Jose Fernandez set a Marlins rookie record with 13 strikeouts and Giancarlo Stanton hit a tiebreaking home run to lead Miami to a 3-2 win over the Pirates at Marlins Park.

"I've seen it before," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said when asked about Fernandez's talent. "I saw Dwight Gooden come up -- absolutely rare.

"(Fernandez) could very well be a special arm and a very special young man on the mound."

Steve Cishek allowed two base runners but pitched a scoreless ninth to pick up his 22nd save. He has 17 saves since June 8, the most in the majors during that span.

The last-place Marlins have won five of their past seven games, including two series in a row.

The Pirates, who have not played a home game since July 14, head back to Pittsburgh to start an 11-game homestand on Monday against the St. Louis Cardinals. The teams will battle for first place in a crucial five-game series.

Fernandez, who turns 21 on Wednesday, won his pitching duel against fellow rookie right-hander Gerrit Cole, 22, who was the first pick in the 2011 draft.

While Cole was drafted out of UCLA, Fernandez was in high school when he was the 14th pick of that year's draft.

"He's a great pitcher," Fernandez said of Cole. "He's a first-rounder for a reason. I saw his stuff when I had to hit against him, and I didn't like it."

In eight innings, Fernandez (7-5) allowed five hits, no walks and two runs. A double was the only extra-base hit he gave up, and 11 of his strikeouts were swinging.

It was Fernandez's third 10-plus strikeout game this year. He broke the Marlins' old rookie strikeout record of 12, set by Josh Beckett in 2002.

Fernandez is just the 10th major-league rookie with 13 Ks and no walks in a game since 1963. In 10 home starts this season, he is 4-0 with a 1.57 ERA.

Cole (5-4) gave up four hits, two walks and three runs in seven innings. He struck out a career-high eight but gave up a 2-0 lead and allowed Stanton to hit a one-out solo home run to left-center field in the sixth to snap a 2-2 tie.

The line-drive shot was measured at 415 feet and was Stanton's 13th homer of the season.

The Pirates opened the scoring, getting two runs in the second. The first run came when Pedro Alvarez led off the inning with a single and scored from first on Russell Martin's double.

Martin, making his first start since tweaking a knee on Friday night in a collision at home, then stole third -- showing that he is over his injury -- and scored easily on Clint Barmes' single to center.

The Marlins tied the score in the fourth on a rally that started with a one-out walk to Stanton and a single by Logan Morrison. Ed Lucas got the first RBI when his two-hopper down the line got past Pirates first baseman Gaby Sanchez. Donovan Solano followed with a sacrifice fly.

Then, after Stanton's homer, Fernandez - with some help from Cishek - shut down the Pirates and sent them home in disappointing fashion.

"He's a good pitcher," Sanchez said of Fernandez. "Location was pretty key for him. He was keeping the ball down, and he was using his off-speed pitch really well."

NOTES: Marlins hitting coach and former star first baseman Tino Martinez resigned after Sunday's game. According to a report in The Miami Herald, Marlins players -- including second baseman Derek Dietrich and outfielder Justin Ruggiano -- had accused Martinez of being verbally and physically abusive. ... Pirates backup C Michael McKenry, who hurt a knee Saturday night, did not play Sunday. ... As a precaution, the Pirates promoted Triple-A C Tony Sanchez, a former No. 1 draft pick who played his high school ball in Miami. OF Travis Snider was put on the disabled list with a left big toe injury. ... The Pirates rested CF Andrew McCutchen as a starter, although he did pop out as an eighth-inning pinch-hitter. ... Pirates LF Jose Tabata made his first start since being hit by a pitch on Wednesday and Starling Marte moved over to CF. ... The Marlins promoted RHP Steven Ames from Triple-A. He replaces RHP Kevin Slowey (4.11 ERA), who was placed on the DL because of a right forearm strain. ... This is the first time up in the major leagues for Ames, who pitched seven scoreless innings in five relief appearances since the Marlins acquired him as part of the Ricky Nolasco trade. ... Baseball Prospectus gives the Pirates a 97 percent chance of making the playoffs. The Pirates have not reached the playoffs or had a winning season since 1992.
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