The NL Central-leading Pittsburgh Pirates are getting another look at the 21-year-old phenom.
After breaking his own team record his last time out, Fernandez looks to continue his dazzling stretch with another dominant performance against the Pirates on Thursday.
Fernandez (8-5, 2.54 ERA) only had Class-A experience prior to this season, but he's quickly become the Marlins' ace by leading the team in wins, ERA, strikeouts (138) and innings (127 2-3).
He's also tops among rookies in ERA, strikeouts and opponents' batting average (.190), placing him among the frontrunners to be named rookie of the year. The only potential obstacle could be the innings limit Miami (43-69) is expected to impose on him.
Still, manager Mike Redmond thinks Fernandez deserves to become the fourth Marlin to earn the honor.
"He should be; I'm biased," Redmond told the team's official website. "I've watched this kid over the course of the year. I can't imagine there being a better rookie than him."
Fernandez has performed more like one of the best pitchers in baseball of late. He's 3-0 with a 1.55 ERA and has struck out 39 in 29 innings over his last four starts.
The right-hander, named NL rookie of the month for July, has entered the record books twice during the stretch.
Fernandez set a team rookie record with 14 strikeouts while allowing three hits in eight innings of a 10-0 win over Cleveland on Friday. He surpassed his previous record of 13 set five days earlier against the Pirates (69-44), as he yielded two runs in eight innings of a 3-2 victory.
"I'm just trying to make good pitches," Fernandez said. "I'm not trying to strike out people. I'm not going out there saying, 'I've got to strike out 20.' I'm not thinking about that."
Fernandez will probably be thinking of ending the Marlins' four-game slide, which continued with Wednesday's 4-2 loss in the middle game of this series.
He may not be expecting much help from the lineup, which has scored eight runs during the skid and had seven hits - six singles - Wednesday.
"We've had some good at-bats but we're not stringing them together," Redmond said. "We're piecing together one run here or one run there. Believe me, it's very frustrating. I know our guys are frustrated. You've got to keep plugging along and hopefully have that day where we string a bunch of hits together."
Andrew McCutchen is surely doing that for the Pirates, registering five straight multihit games while driving in six runs and scoring five times. The star center fielder homered for one of his two hits Wednesday as Pittsburgh's home winning streak over Miami reached five games.
McCutchen, 10 for 16 over the past five games overall, popped out as a pinch-hitter in his only at-bat against Fernandez on July 28.
The Pirates are again scheduled to counter Fernandez with their own heralded youngster in Gerrit Cole (5-5, 3.69), the top pick in the 2011 draft.
The 22-year-old right-hander performed admirably opposite Fernandez last month, allowing three runs and four hits with eight strikeouts in seven innings.
He labored through his last outing Friday, throwing a season-high 102 pitches while giving up three runs and three hits with six strikeouts in 5 1-3 innings of a 4-2 loss to Colorado.
Cole has lost five of his last six starts with a 3.68 ERA, and he can't be entirely to blame since he's been backed by one or two runs in each of the defeats.
|July 26, 2013||Kevin Slowey||15-Day DL||Right forearm discomfort|
|July 23, 2013||Marcell Ozuna||15-Day DL||Torn left thumb ligament|
|June 25, 2013||Justin Ruggiano||Day-to-Day||Sore left shoulder|
|June 09, 2013||Chris Coghlan||15-Day DL||Right calf irritation|
|June 09, 2013||Casey Kotchman||60-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
|May 27, 2013||Alex Sanabia||60-Day DL||Right groin discomfort|
|July 28, 2013||Travis Snider||15-Day DL||Left big toe discomfort|
|July 28, 2013||Michael McKenry||15-Day DL||Left knee surgery - out for season|
|July 23, 2013||Jason Grilli||15-Day DL||Strained right forearm|
|July 07, 2013||Neil Walker||15-Day DL||Strained right oblique|
|July 07, 2013||Neil Walker||15-Day DL||Strained right oblique|
|June 09, 2013||A.J. Burnett||15-Day DL||Strained right calf|
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- For 20 years, the Pittsburgh Pirates couldn't win. Now, it seems they cannot lose.
Russell Martin 's pinch-hit single with two outs in the 10th inning lifted the Pirates over the Miami Marlins 5-4 Thursday for their fifth straight win.
Martin delivered his fourth game-ending hit at PNC Park this year for the NL Central leaders.
The Pirates swept the three-game series and improved to 70-44, the best record in the majors. Miami lost a 4-0 lead and fell for the fifth time in a row.
"We're like the Miami Heat," Pittsburgh star center fielder Andrew McCutchen said. "We play better in the second half of games."
Pittsburgh has had 20 consecutive losing seasons, a major North American professional sports record.
"It's been so much fun," Pirates second baseman Neil Walker said. "It seems like it's somebody different every day that's been the hero."
Josh Harrison opened the 10th with a single off Steve Ames (0-1) and took second on Clint Barmes ' sacrifice bunt. After Jose Tabata bounced out and Starling Marte was intentionally walked, Martin batted for Jared Hughes (2-2) and grounded a single down the left-field line.
"I like those situations," Martin said. "Some people would say they are pressure situations, but I don't look at it that way. There is a heightened focus for me when the game is on the line and I feel more relaxed because of it. I feel I perform better with the game on the line."
It was the Pirates' 28th comeback win.
"It's just our mindset," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. "Offensively, we know we've got some work to do and areas to improve on, but we're long on guts. We keep playing to the end and grinding out at-bats. We've shown the resolve to play out some big opportunities."
Walker had three hits and two RBIs for Pittsburgh and Marte had two hits. McCutchen was scratched from the starting lineup because of discomfort in his right shoulder, but singled as a pinch-hitter in the seventh.
Marlins rookie Christian Yelich had three hits, including his first major league homer.
Starters Jose Fernandez and Gerrit Cole each lasted only five innings, and neither touted rookie was sharp.
Fernandez gave up two runs and five hits for Miami while walking four and striking out five. He had a combined 27 strikeouts in his previous two starts.
"Honestly I was nervous really from about the second inning on because I knew he didn't have his great stuff and you could see he was really having to work hard out there to throw strikes and get ahead of hitters," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said.
"Not that they hit him hard - because they didn't - but you could just see he was having to throw a lot of pitches to finish guys and they did a good job of that, of kind of battling him," he said.
Cole allowed four runs on six hits with one walk and four strikeouts. He is winless in seven starts since winning the first four starts of his career.
Four Pirates relievers then combined for five scoreless innings.
"It's a real luxury to have the type of bullpen we have," Cole said. "I feel bad because I hung them out to dry but they did a great job."
The Pirates tied the score at 4 in the seventh on sacrifice flies by Walker and pinch-hitter Gaby Sanchez . They had drawn within 4-2 in the fifth on consecutive RBI singles by Walker and Pedro Alvarez .
Miami built a 4-0 lead by scoring twice in the first and fifth innings. Giancarlo Stanton drove in the game's first run with a double and scored on Placido Polanco 's single, then Yelich hit a two-run homer in the fifth.
"You've had a few at bats now and you know you're waiting for it to come," Yelich said, "but it's one of those things that you can't force it and start pressing for it because if you do that it can take you out of your game and it snowballs on you real quick. It was nice to get that first one but it would have felt a little better if we could have come up with a W."
NOTES: Pittsburgh leads the major leagues with 41 home wins and Miami's 17 are the fewest. ... Miami 2B Donovan Solano was not in the lineup for the first time since July 23 and rookie CF Jake Marisnick was also rested. ... Both teams open three-game road series on Friday night with Miami visiting Atlanta and Pittsburgh playing at Colorado. RHP Justin Turner (3-3, 2.68) will start for the Marlins against RHP Brandon Beachy (0-0, 9.00). Pittsburgh LHP Francisco Liriano (12-4, 2.04) will face LHP Jorge De La Rosa (10-6, 3.31).