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Marlins rookie Fernandez cools off Dodgers

The SportsXchange

MIAMI -- Miami Marlins starter Jose Fernandez was the most impressive pitcher in Monday's game -- not Los Angeles Dodgers counterpart Hyun-Jin Ryu.

Giancarlo Stanton was the most potent right fielder -- not Dodgers star Yasiel Puig.

And Logan Morrison was the most productive first baseman -- not Dodgers veteran Adrian Gonzalez.

The Dodgers, with all their mega-stars, are the Las Vegas betting-line favorites to win the World Series this year, which would be their first title in 25 years. But it was last-place Miami that emerged with a 6-2 win in the opener of a four-game series at Marlins Park.

Fernandez, 21; Puig, 22; and Ryu, 26, are three of the top rookies in the National League this year.

Fernandez (9-5) made the biggest impact Monday, allowing just two runs (one earned) in six innings. He struck out eight and walked three.

"Jose told me that he got up at 6:30 this morning ready to pitch," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "I was worried he would be too ramped up."

He was more than fine as it turned out.

Puig, who like Fernandez is a Cuban defector, had an off night. He went 0-for-3 with a strikeout against Fernandez. For the game, Puig went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts as his batting average dipped to a still-impressive .351.

Fernandez talked before the game with Puig, something he had never done with a rival player.

"I had never met him before, but he's a great guy," Fernandez said. "It was like we had known each other forever. We lived about 45 minutes away from each other in Cuba."

Ryu, who is from South Korea, allowed three runs in 7 1/3 innings.

The game drew 27,127 fans, the third-largest home crowd of the year for the Marlins. The fans saw Miami take a 3-2 lead on Morrison's sixth-inning double, which one-hopped the wall in right and scored Donovan Solano from second. The Marlins went on to load the bases, but Ryu got Adeiny Hechavarria to bounce into an inning-ending double play.

The Marlins added three runs in the eighth, highlighted by Stanton's 428-foot solo homer to left-center. Ed Lucas and Hechavarria added run-scoring singles.

The Dodgers had tied the score 2-2 in the sixth. Andre Ethier, who was hit by pitch on a Fernandez curve, scored on a two-out double by Juan Uribe. Fernandez threw three straight curves to Uribe before the last one was pulled down the left field line on a 3-2 pitch.

Ryu (12-4) hadn't allowed a hit until Fernandez drilled a hard line-drive single to center with two outs in the third.

That sparked the Marlins, as the next two batters went the opposite way for run-scoring hits -- a triple to left by Christian Yelich and a single to right by Solano.

"I actually felt pretty good today," Ryu said of his performance. "There was nothing wrong. To analyze further, the hit I gave up in the third inning with two outs to the pitcher -- I think that decided the game.

"I just gave him a good fastball to hit. I wish I had thrown a curveball."

The Dodgers scored one run in the fifth -- but it could have been a bigger inning if not for masterful pitching by Fernandez. The first two batters singled before Fernandez got Ryu to hit an easy chopper to Lucas at third. Lucas, though, dropped the potential double-play grounder and was charged with an error.

Fernandez then allowed a run-scoring groundout by Carl Crawford before striking out Puig on three pitches -- all of them 97 mph fastballs. Puig swung at the last one even though it was up and out of the strike zone.

"I think he was expecting a breaking ball there," Fernandez said.

The inning ended with Fernandez striking out Gonzalez, who went just 1-for-3.

Morrison, Solano and Stanton had two hits apiece. Uribe led the Dodgers with three hits.

NOTES: According to TMZ, Puig hung out in South Beach with Miami Heat star LeBron James late Sunday night. ... The Dodgers activated former Giants RHP Brian Wilson, 31. The longtime closer, recovered from a second Tommy John surgery, has not pitched in a big-league game since April 12, 2012. He threw 4 1/3 scoreless innings in the minors this year before getting promoted. To make room on the roster, the Dodgers demoted OF Scott Van Slyke to Triple-A Albuquerque. Van Slyke is expected to be brought back up for a fifth time this year when rosters expand Sept. 1. ... The Marlins placed 3B Placido Polanco on the seven-day concussion disabled list. Miami purchased the contract of INF Gil Velazquez from Triple-A New Orleans to fill Polanco's roster spot. OF Marcell Ozuna (wrist) was transferred from the 15-day to the 60-day DL to accommodate Velazquez on the 40-man roster.
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