The Miami Marlins just enjoyed their best month in more than a year.
Giving the ball to rookie Jose Fernandez could help them get off to a good start in July.
Fernandez gets his first look at the San Diego Padres on Monday night in the conclusion of this season series.
After going 14-41 in April and May, the Marlins (29-51) finished off a 15-10 June with their seventh victory in nine games, 6-2 on Sunday with Jeff Mathis delivering a walkoff grand slam. It was Mathis' second and the 3,000th homer in the franchise's 20-year history.
The victory capped Miami's most successful month since finishing 21-8 last May."After April and May, to do what we did in June is great," manager Mike Redmond said. "Are we happy? Yes. Are we satisfied? No."
The Marlins have been more than satisfied with Fernandez (4-4, 2.98 ERA), who went 2-1 with a 1.67 ERA in five June starts after allowing one run and four hits in Tuesday's 4-2 win over Minnesota. The 20-year-old Cuban, though, did not get the decision and was admittedly not at his best during the five-inning outing.
"The most important part for me today was that my stuff was horrible. I was trying to battle through it," Fernandez told the Marlins' official website. "... We got the 'W' and that's what matters."
The Marlins have won five of Hernandez's seven starts in Miami. He's 2-0 with a 1.76 ERA in those outings, holding opponents to a .189 batting average.
That doesn't bode well for a Padres team batting .194 with three total runs since winning the first of this four-game set, 9-2 on Friday. Carlos Quentin 's pinch-hit homer accounted for both runs Sunday when San Diego (40-42) lost for the eighth time in 12 games following a season-best 7-0 run.
The Padres will try to get back on track with Jason Marquis (9-3, 3.99) looking to rebound from his first loss in 12 starts. The veteran right-hander had won eight consecutive decisions - his longest stretch since 2004 - before giving up all the runs and walking a season high-tying five in 4 1-3 innings of Tuesday's 6-2 loss to Philadelphia.
San Diego had won five straight and 10 of 11 when he started."It's just one of those days," Marquis said after his second-shortest outing of 2013. "I just wasn't able to get a feel for anything and I paid the price."
Marquis, though, hasn't paid much of a price for his major-league worst 53 walks, as he's one win from reaching double-digits for the first time since going 15-13 for Colorado in 2009.
Marquis was at his best this season against Miami on May 8, throwing eight innings of five-hit ball with one walk in a 1-0 home win.
Marcell Ozuna was hitless in three at-bats off Marquis in that contest, but he's batting .382 with a homer and nine RBIs in a team-best nine-game hitting streak.
Fellow Marlins rookie Derek Dietrich is 5 for 11 in this series after going 1 for 3 with a two-run double Sunday.
Padres rookie second baseman Jedd Gyorko (right groin) is not expected to return from the DL on Monday. San Diego is also still awaiting the return of injured infielders Everth Cabrera (left hamstring) and Yonder Alonso (right hand).
The Padres have won four of six from the Marlins this season.
|San Diego Padres|
|June 22, 2013||Clayton Richard||15-Day DL||Left shoulder strain|
|June 17, 2013||Everth Cabrera||15-Day DL||Strained left hamstring|
|June 15, 2013||Carlos Quentin||Day-to-Day||Sore left shoulder|
|June 11, 2013||Cameron Maybin||Day-to-Day||Sore knee|
|June 10, 2013||Cameron Maybin||15-Day DL||Strained left knee|
|June 10, 2013||Jedd Gyorko||15-Day DL||Strained right groin|
|June 25, 2013||Justin Ruggiano||Day-to-Day||Sore left shoulder|
|June 09, 2013||Casey Kotchman||15-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
|June 09, 2013||Chris Coghlan||15-Day DL||Right calf irritation|
|May 27, 2013||Alex Sanabia||15-Day DL||Right groin discomfort|
|May 19, 2013||Matt Diaz||15-Day DL||Left knee bone contusion|
|May 08, 2013||Chris Valaika||15-Day DL||Fractured left wrist|
MIAMI (AP) -- Miami Marlins rookie Jose Fernandez waved his arms, stomped his foot and pounded the dugout railing, trying to coax one final out from the San Diego Padres .
The right-hander-turned-cheerleader succeeded in both roles Monday, helping the Marlins beat San Diego 4-0.
Fernandez pitched a career-high eight innings, struck out 10 and allowed only two hits. Then he watched anxiously from the bench as Steve Cishek entered the game with two on and two out in the ninth to preserve the win.
"I get excited," the 20-year-old Fernandez said. "We're winning by four runs, but it's the big leagues, man. With two outs, anybody can score 10 runs. I've seen it happen."
Victories have been especially elusive for the Marlins, who began the week with the worst record in the majors. But since June 1 they're 16-10, and they've won six of their past seven games.
"We were losing games 2-1 and 3-2. We would hit the ball right at people," Fernandez said. "Now we're playing really good baseball, and the team feels great."
The Marlins have matched a season high with three consecutive wins while allowing a total of three runs.
Jeff Mathis delivered the big hit for the second game in a row, raising his batting average to .154. He hit a three-run double in the sixth, when the Marlins scored four unearned runs off Jason Marquis .
Mathis' ninth-inning grand slam beat the Padres on Sunday. With seven RBIs in two games, he doubled his season total.
San Diego lost for the seventh time in nine games. Padres shortstop Pedro Ciriaco helped Marquis with two fine defensive plays early, but his errant throw in the sixth led to the unearned runs.
"You have to be focused and make routine groundballs," Ciriaco said.
Fernandez (5-4), who might be the Marlins' representative at the All-Star Game, said his stuff ranked with the best he has had all year. He equaled a career high in strikeouts, walked one and threw 100 pitches.
"After about four innings I was sitting there going, `Man, we just need to get a run for this kid. He's got great stuff,"' Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "He was overpowering some of their guys, and they weren't taking real good swings."
Fernandez improved to 3-1 with an ERA of 1.34 over his past six starts.
"You can tell why the Marlins like this kid," Padres manager Bud Black said. "He has a lot of talent. For 20 years old, he's pretty advanced."
When Fernandez came off the field after pitching the eighth inning, he tried to hide from Redmond at the far end of the dugout, hoping to stay in the game. After Redmond found him and told him he was being pulled for a pinch-hitter, Fernandez became the most animated player on the bench as he watched the ninth.
"This kid wants it," Redmond said. "He's having fun. He's like a little kid out there, and that's what I love about him."
Cishek retired Kyle Blanks for his 15th save in 17 chances, completing a three-hitter.
Miami won despite going 2 for 14 with runners in scoring position. Marquis (9-4) issued a career-high seven walks in 6 1-3 innings but lowered his ERA to 3.74 because he allowed no earned runs.
"He did what he always does," Black said. "He battles and works his way through a game, but he was just outpitched by their guy."
The game was scoreless when Ed Lucas reached leading off the sixth on Ciriaco's wild throw. Giancarlo Stanton walked, and Marcell Ozuna singled home a run after his foul pop dropped just beyond the reach of catcher Yasmani Grandal near the Padres dugout.
"When you're going good, you get those breaks," Redmond said.
With runners at second and third, Derek Dietrich was intentionally walked, and Mathis' double cleared the bases to make it 4-0.
Carlos Quentin doubled with two outs in the first, and that was the Padres' only hit until Blanks singled with two outs in the seventh.
Fernandez stumbled and fell on a pickoff attempt to first base in the third inning, and his throw sailed wildly for his first error of the season. Logan Forsythe went to second on the play, but Chris Denorfia lined out to end the inning.
NOTES: After the game, the Marlins optioned 1B Jordan Brown to Triple-A New Orleans and recalled INF Donovan Solano . ... Miami RHP Henderson Alvarez (shoulder) is scheduled to make his 2013 debut when he starts Thursday at Atlanta. The Marlins haven't said whose spot in the rotation he'll take. RHP Ricky Nolasco , the subject of trade speculation, is scheduled to pitch Wednesday. ... The Padres won the season series 4-3.