"The whole season, as the game progresses, I've been feeling better and better," Fernandez said. "These were big games, and we split the series, so that's a good feeling. Something good that we did as a team."
Said Nationals manager Dusty Baker: "When [Fernandez] is healthy, he is among the league leaders in strikeouts. You know he is going to have some strikeouts. It's just that when you get a pitch to hit, you can't really miss it because he is not going to give you a whole bunch to hit."
The only time the Nationals were able to get to Fernandez came in the fourth, when Ryan Zimmerman hit an inside-the-park homer. It didn't help that center fielder Marcell Ozuna and right fielder Giancarlo Stanton collided on the play. Both remained in the game.
"I peeked at him, I peeked at the ball. I knew it would get there at the same time," Stanton said. "So I started calling it, and he tried to get out of the way at the last second, so we barely skipped our shins together and then hit the ground pretty hard."
Nationals right-hander Joe Ross picked up his third loss of the season. He lasted 5 2/3 innings, giving up five runs (three earned).
"We needed to get some breaks," Baker said. "We were actually hitting the ball better than they were, even though we were striking out quite a bit."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Jose Ks 11 again: Fernandez had his second straight strong outing. The Marlins' ace has allowed only one earned run in 14 innings over his last two starts, with 22 total strikeouts. The only run Fernandez allowed on Sunday came via a fluke inside-the-park home run on which Stanton and Ozuna collided. Fernandez helped his cause at the plate as well, laying down two sacrifice bunts and driving in a pair of runs with a sixth-inning single.
Miami manager Don Mattingly called ir Fernandez's best outing of the year.
"To me, this was the easiest and smoothest," Mattingly said. "No real true troubles." More >
Stanton connects: Stanton's opposite-field solo home run in the sixth inning snapped an eight-game homerless drought during a stretch in which he batted .111 with a .148 slugging percentage. Besides providing needed insurance in what was then a one-run game, the blast was reassuring for the Marlins after Stanton's collision the previous inning.
"When I stayed in, I knew I was OK," Stanton said. "The home run was a little additive."
Ross has outing to forget: The Nationals didn't play good defense behind the right-hander. That's why he allowed two unearned runs in the third. The sixth inning was his worst, as he gave up three runs, including a solo homer by Stanton.
"We lost, so it's tough, regardless of how I felt out there," Ross said. "I tried to battle and get early outs. It just didn't go my way."
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Zimmerman's inside-the-park home run was only the third in Nationals history. The first two were recorded by Willie Harris and Austin Kearns.
In the first inning, it appeared Christian Yelich grounded out on a close play at first. Marlins manager Don Mattingly challenged the play. After 55 seconds, the play stood.
WHAT'S NEXT Marlins: The Marlins head to Philadelphia to conclude their road trip. Miami will send Adam Conley to the mound for the first of a three-game series at 7:05 p.m. ET on Monday. Conley has pitched well against the Phillies in his brief Major League career, holding them to four earned runs in 18 innings over three starts.
Nationals: They have Monday off before an important three-game series against the Mets starting at 7:05 p.m. ET on Tuesday. Right-hander Max Scherzer will get the start for Washington. In his last outing against the Tigers, Scherzer became just the fourth pitcher to strike out 20 batters in a nine-inning outing, joining Roger Clemens (twice), Kerry Wood and Randy Johnson. Noah Syndergaard goes for the Mets.