Jose Fernandez is pitching his way into the MLB history books…
The 22-year-old Cuban baseball pitcher threw for seven innings Thursday and tied the modern record for most consecutive home victories by a starter to begin a career, helping the Miami Marlins beat the Cincinnati Reds 2-0.
Fernandez won for the second time in two outings since his return from Tommy John surgery. He allowed six hits, struck out nine and improved to 14-0 in 22 career starts at Marlins Park.
The only other pitcher since 1914 to win his first 14 home decisions as a starter was Johnny Allen of the New York Yankees in 1932-33, according to STATS. Fernandez lowered his home ERA to 1.17.
On the road he’s 4-8 with an ERA of 3.93. Does he get more amped pitching at home?
“It looks like it,” he said. “I’m just lucky to be out there on that mound.”
Fernandez, who defected from Cuba a decade ago, has been a fan favorite in Miami since his rookie season in 2013. He was enthusiastically supported by the crowd of 25,027, larger than normal for the attendance-challenged Marlins.
“It was fantastic. I love it,” he said. “Sometimes I look in the stands and see the kids laughing and saying my name, and it’s really special. Knowing everything I’ve been through, I really appreciate it.”
All-Star Dee Gordon stole three bases, scored both runs and broke the Marlins record for hits before the All-Star break with 119. Miami snapped a four-game losing streak.
Working on six days’ rest, Fernandez faced his biggest jam when he allowed singles by Marlon Byrd and Eugenio Suarez on consecutive pitches in the seventh. Tucker Barnhart then grounded into a double play, ending the inning and Fernandez’s night.
“We’ve seen him before, and we know he’s good,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “He didn’t make any fatal mistakes by walking people, falling behind or giving up the big hit that could have done the damage and gotten us back in the game.”
Fernandez, who threw 94 pitches, was still reaching 96 mph in the seventh and mixed in lots of off-speed stuff. He walked none and has yet to walk a batter in 13 innings this season — all at home.
“He loves Miami, that’s all I can say,” manager Dan Jennings said. “There’s a little bit of an aura when he pitches at home.”
Fernandez struck out Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Eugenio Suarez twice each.
“He’s Fernandez — that’s all you need to know,” said Billy Hamilton, who had an infield single off the Marlins ace. “He’s a great pitcher. With this guy, you don’t know what you’re going to get. He can throw any of his pitches at any time during the count. You have to be ready for anything.”