In what's expected to be one of his final starts of the season, Fernandez attempts to become the first Marlins rookie in 10 years to win six straight decisions Friday night when he faces the Braves for the first time.
The Marlins (49-83) are all but assured of finishing at the bottom of the East, and have dropped eight of nine after falling 9-0 at Washington on Thursday.
Fernandez (10-5, 2.30 ERA), though, is giving them reason for optimism.
The 21-year-old phenom has already emerged as Miami's ace, leading rookies with 165 strikeouts while ranking third among all pitchers in ERA.
Fernandez has a 1.33 ERA while winning all five decisions over his last eight starts, striking out 66 in 54 innings. The right-hander now has a chance to become the first Marlins rookie to win six straight decisions since Dontrelle Willis had an eight-game run from May 25-July 13, 2003.
After holding the Dodgers and Rockies to a combined one earned run over 13 innings - striking out 16 - in two starts last week, Fernandez was named NL Player of the Week for the second time as he shared the honor with the Chicago Cubs ' Jeff Samardzija .
Despite Fernandez's staggering rise and increasing popularity, the Marlins have him on an innings limit that could mean he has just two starts left. That could hurt his chances at becoming the first Marlins pitcher to win rookie of the year honors since Willis.
"I don't really think about that stuff," Fernandez told the team's official website. "As long as I keep giving my team a chance to win, co-Player of the Week, Rookie of the Year, all that stuff, I don't care. It's just play for this team, and as long as we win, that's what I care about."
Fernandez should catch a break in his first look at the Braves. Justin Upton , Atlanta's leader with 24 homers and second with 64 RBIs, is expected to be out of the lineup after being hit on the hand by a pitch Thursday.
Like Fernandez, Teheran (10-7, 3.08) is probably also more concerned with his team's success during his stellar rookie season, but the Braves (81-52) are comfortably headed to the postseason and own the best record in baseball.
The right-hander is looking to get untracked after allowing four runs and two homers with eight strikeouts and a season-high five walks in a 6-2 loss at St. Louis on Saturday. He had been 3-1 with a 1.75 ERA over his previous six starts.
"It's not that he didn't have it," catcher Brian McCann told the team's official website. "He just wasn't as sharp as he has been in the past."
Teheran is 1-0 with a 2.92 ERA in two starts against Miami.
McCann is hitting .344 with five homers and 15 RBIs over his last 17 home meetings with the Marlins, going 8 for 18 with two homers while plating five runs in five games this year.
He enters this meeting 7 for 16 with five RBIs in the last four games at Turner Field, with two of those hits leaving the park. That includes a three-run homer in Thursday's 3-1 win over Cleveland as the Braves' winning streak reached four games.
Freddie Freeman , who has a nagging knee injury, likely will be back after being used as a pinch runner Thursday. The All-Star first baseman has a .395 average in nine games versus Miami this season.
|August 19, 2013||Placido Polanco||7-Day DL||Concussion|
|August 19, 2013||Placido Polanco||7-Day DL||Concussion|
|July 26, 2013||Kevin Slowey||15-Day DL||Right forearm discomfort|
|July 23, 2013||Marcell Ozuna||60-Day DL||Torn left thumb ligament|
|June 25, 2013||Justin Ruggiano||Day-to-Day||Sore left shoulder|
|June 09, 2013||Casey Kotchman||60-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
|August 29, 2013||Justin Upton||Day-to-Day||Left hand injury|
|August 22, 2013||Jason Heyward||15-Day DL||Fractured right jaw|
|August 21, 2013||Brandon Beachy||15-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
|August 20, 2013||Justin Upton||Day-to-Day||Strained upper back|
|August 15, 2013||Tyler Pastornicky||15-Day DL||Torn left ACL - out for season|
|August 13, 2013||Dan Uggla||15-Day DL||Eye surgery|
ATLANTA (AP) -- Julio Teheran said he took the mound with one goal: "Show everybody what I can do."
Teheran showed he can beat Jose Fernandez , the Marlins' young star who ranks third in the majors with his 2.33 ERA.
Freddie Freeman hit a two-run homer in the first inning, Teheran outpitched Fernandez in a matchup of young right-handers, and the Atlanta Braves beat Miami 2-1 Friday night for their fifth straight win.
"I've got an idea these kids are going to match up a lot in the future," said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez.
Fernandez, 21, took his first loss since July 7 but allowed only one hit after Freeman's homer. Fernandez (10-6) gave up three hits in six innings for the Marlins, who have lost five straight.
Teheran, 22, yielded one run and four hits in 6 1-3 innings. A key for Teheran (11-7) was overcoming a long third inning, when the Marlins scored their only run.
"I just had one bad inning, and I was able to get out of that inning," Teheran said.
Fernandez endured a similarly taxing fourth inning before Brian McCann finally struck out in a 14-pitch at-bat and the Braves left the bases loaded.
"I was really surprised that both kids that young in those innings, they didn't rattle," Gonzalez said.
The long at-bat helped limit Fernandez to only six innings.
"McCann, that was a great at-bat," said Marlins manager Mike Redmond . "Jose did a great job striking him out in that situation. But it cost him a lot of pitches. That's what good teams do; they find a way to grind guys out.
"I thought he gave us everything he had tonight."
Each starter had eight strikeouts.
Before facing Freeman in the first, Fernandez had allowed only two homers in his last 15 starts since June 1 - and none in his first five outings this month. Freeman's homer off the top of the wall in center field drove in Elliot Johnson , who doubled to right.
The other hit allowed by Fernandez was Freeman's double in the fourth.
After the double, Fernandez smiled and shook his head as he looked at Freeman standing on second base.
"I told Freeman `How can I get you out?' when he got to second base on that double," Fernandez said. "And then he starts laughing."
With closer Craig Kimbrel unavailable after pitching in three straight games, Anthony Varvaro got six outs, including a perfect ninth inning, for his first career save.
Fernandez led off the third by sliding in head-first for a triple, the first of his career. He scored on Christian Yelich 's single. The slide gave Redmond a scare only a few feet away in Miami's dugout along the third-base line.
"You want him to play hard, but at the same time you want him to play smart," Redmond said. "I wouldn't have been disappointed if he'd stopped at second. And I definitely wouldn't have been disappointed if he'd slid feet-first instead of head-first. I hope we don't ever see that again. But I love the energy.
"He brings a spark to our team when we need him. He's a special kid."
Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons made two strong defensive plays in the sixth. He adjusted to field Justin Ruggiano 's grounder after the ball bounced off third baseman Chris Johnson 's glove and then made a strong throw to first for the out. Simmons dove to his right to snare Placido Polanco 's line drive for the second out.
"If anybody in the major leagues other than Simmons is playing shortstop, we probably lose that game," Gonzalez said.
Giancarlo Stanton led off the eighth with a single. Ruggiano then hit a fly ball to right field and Stanton was thrown out by Jordan Schafer while trying to advance to second.
NOTES: The Braves optioned C Evan Gattis to Triple-A Gwinnett after the game to receive regular playing time the next three days. He can be recalled after Gwinnett's season ends on Monday. ... Gattis didn't start on "El Oso Blanco" night - a promotion that played off the rookie's nickname. He drew a pinch-hit walk in the seventh. ... Fernandez has 173 strikeouts for a Marlins rookie record, passing Scott Olsen 's 166 in 2006. ... Redmond said RHP Ryan Webb was fine after getting hit in the back by a batted ball during batting practice Thursday. ... OF Justin Upton was held out with a bruised left wrist after he was hit by a pitch from Ubaldo Jimenez on Thursday night. ... Braves LHP Mike Minor will try for his 14th win when he faces Miami RHP Jacob Turner on Saturday night.