By Joe Frisaro and Patrick Pinak
MLB.com |@JoeFrisaro |
MIAMI -- Jose Fernandez on Saturday continued to dominate at Marlins Park, and Giancarlo Stanton nearly damaged the stadium's accessories in Miami's 7-2 victory over the Mets.
Fernandez struck out seven and allowed two runs over seven innings, while Stanton smacked a two-run homer off the auxiliary scoreboard in left field among his four hits and three RBIs on a night the Marlins rebounded from Friday's 5-3 loss to even their three-game series. With the win, Miami moved 1 1/2 games ahead of New York for second place in the National League East.
"We're grabbing those close games," Stanton said. "Those are the big ones that we need. Pressure all through the game and towards the end. We played well. Can't give any games up now."
Fernandez got caught up in the excitement of the game with second-place positioning in the division at stake.
"Knowing this game is against the Mets and they're behind us," Fernandez said, "this 15 games coming up, we know how important they are."
The Marlins tagged Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom for five runs on 10 hits in 3 2/3 innings, making Saturday the second-shortest start of the right-hander's career. The only time deGrom went fewer innings was on Aug. 24, 2015, at the Phillies when he went 2 2/3 frames. Yoenis Cespedes had an RBI single for New York in a two-run third inning.
Mets manager Terry Collins said deGrom's poor start was due to a lack of command, which he excelled at in his previous few starts.
"He didn't have command of any of his pitches," Collins said. "A lot of balls were out over the middle of the plate and up. Very uncharacteristic, but you know what happens."
Fernandez, now 9-1 at home this year, is 12-4 on the season, matching his career high for wins. In his 2013 NL Rookie of the Year Award season, Fernandez was 12-6.
"I think [Fernandez] knew it was a big game for us," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "Obviously, his success here is pretty well-documented. He also knows that he's got Jacob on the other side of the field who is capable of throwing zeros up all night with you. You're going to have to be good or you're taking a chance of taking an 'L' out there."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Stanton smashes scoreboard: The Mets pushed two across in the third inning to take a 2-1 lead, but in the bottom of the frame, Stanton blasted a two-run homer to left, a towering drive that clanked high off the auxiliary scoreboard. Statcast™ projected the blast at 441 feet, with an exit velocity of 115.8 mph, which is the fourth hardest-hit home run of the season. Stanton also enjoyed his first four-hit game of the season, and first since Aug. 8, 2012, against the Mets in New York.
"I didn't break any lights, so it's not as good," Stanton said, referring to his 2012 grand slam that knocked out lights on the same scoreboard. More >
Jose's home cooking: Once again, Fernandez rose to the occasion at home. With his strong seven-inning start, the 23-year-old improved to 26-1 with a 1.47 ERA lifetime at Marlins Park. Still, it wasn't a completely smooth ride for Fernandez, who was in a precarious spot with the bases loaded and one out in the fifth inning. But he retired James Loney on a fly ball to short left field and struck out Asdrubal Cabrera to end the threat.
"I've never been a part of a team like this," Fernandez said. "The way we're bonding, and the way we care for each other, it's beautiful to watch. I think the fans at this point see it a little bit more."
One to forget: deGrom's dominant July hit a snag against the Marlins. After escaping the first without any damage and fanning the first two to open the second, he looked poised to go deep in the game. But he yielded hits to six of the next seven batters, including Stanton's home run. The season-high 10 hits he allowed matched his hit total over his last three starts. The five earned runs were also a season high and the most he's surrendered since giving up six to the Marlins on Sept. 15, 2015.
"I just think I wasn't very good today," deGrom said. "Pretty much everything I threw seemed to go down the middle, and I paid for it. That one's on me."
New position, no problem: Mets outfielder Michael Conforto received his first taste of center field. After pinch-hitting for Juan Lagares in the sixth, he stayed in the game in center for the rest of the game. His only action came when Marcell Ozuna hit a towering fly ball with one out in the eighth, but Conforto hustled in and handled it with ease. Collins opted to start Lagares in center against the righty Fernandez because of the spacious outfield in Marlins Park. Conforto had been taking fly balls in center since he was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas on Monday. More >
"I thought the crowd was good tonight. Hopefully, everyone is getting excited about this club. There was good energy in this ballpark. You saw the first couple of levels filled. It was one of those things we were hoping for as the season moves on, if we're able to show what kind of club we've got, the people will want to come out and see us play." -- Mattingly, on the energized crowd of 26,841
ICHIRO GROUNDS OUT
With the crowd chanting his name in the eighth inning, Ichiro Suzuki grounded to second base for the third out. Facing Erik Goeddel, Ichiro entered as a pinch-hitter with Christian Yelich on second, but his sharp grounder was handled by Neil Walker. Ichiro remains at 2,996 MLB hits, just four shy of becoming the 30th player in MLB history to reach 3,000.
WHAT'S NEXT Mets:Steven Matz (7-6, 3.56 ERA) climbs the mound in search of his first win since May 25 in the series finale Sunday at 1:10 p.m. ET at Marlins Park. Over his last nine starts, the left-hander is 0-5 with a 4.73 ERA. Matz is 0-2 with a 7.07 ERA in three career starts vs. Miami.
Marlins:Jose Urena (1-1, 6.23 ERA) made a strong impression in his first MLB start of the year on Tuesday in Philadelphia, so the right-hander is getting another opportunity. He draws the series finale against the Mets. In his start at Citizens Bank Park, Urena gave up one run in 5 2/3 innings. Before getting a shot in the rotation, Urena made 16 relief appearances.