Rookie Jose Fernandez tossed seven strong innings, and Christian Yelich went 3-for-4 with two RBIs in his major league debut, lifting the Miami Marlins to a 4-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday.
Making his first start since appearing in the All-Star game, Fernandez (6-5) baffled the Rockies all evening as he pitched out of several jams and limited one of the league’s top-hitting teams to five hits and two runs. He also struck out eight.
Giancarlo Stanton provided some insurance with a solo homer in the eighth, and Adeiny Hechavarria had an RBI double for the Marlins.
Jhoulys Chacin (9-5) was hit in the upper leg by a line drive early but stayed in the game. He pitched seven solid innings, allowing three runs and eight hits.
Fernandez started out of the dugout to begin the eighth, only to be called back when the Rockies sent up a pinch hitter. The Marlins countered with reliever Mike Dunn, who tossed a perfect inning. Steve Cishek closed out the ninth for his 19th save in 21 chances, getting Todd Helton to pop out to end the game.
Helton hit a solo homer to give the Rockies an early lead, and Carlos Gonzalez brought in another run on a groundout.
That was all the offense the Rockies could manage against Fernandez, a pitcher they had only heard about until Tuesday. Fernandez relied on a nasty curve time and time again to bail him out of potential trouble.
In the fifth, Fernandez escaped danger by getting the speedy Dexter Fowler to hit into an inning-ending double play.
An inning earlier, he wiggled out of a two-on, one-out jam by striking out Michael Cuddyer and Helton, both on hard-breaking curves.
Fernandez’s only mistake was leaving a 94-mph fastball up to Helton, who lined it over the wall in right. Since June 1, Fernandez has a 1.82 ERA, which is one of the top marks in the majors.
The Rockies received quite a scare in the third when Hechavarria’s two-out liner appeared to catch Chacin in the upper left thigh, sending the right-hander tumbling to the dirt. Chacin got back up, paced around the mound for a moment, threw a few warm-up tosses and then motioned he was all right.
Chacin couldn’t escape the inning unscathed as Hechavarria, who was credited with a single, stole second and scored on Yelich’s single to center.
Yelich, one of Miami’s top prospects, began his major league career in fine fashion with a single to right in the first inning. He also had an RBI single in the fifth.
Jake Marisnick, who also made his big league debut, wound up hitless in four plate appearances. Both Marisnick and Yelich were called up from Double-A Jacksonville on Tuesday.
Despite a 48-53 record, the Rockies remain in the thick of the NL West and the success of this 10-game homestand – they’re 2-3 so far – may very well determine whether the organization makes any bold moves at the trade deadline later this month. Colorado needs another starter in the rotation, especially with Drew Pomeranz struggling, along with another bat.
Vice president Bill Geivett wouldn’t give away his intentions in a conversation before the game.
“We are right in the mix with other clubs in our division, so we will see how it goes,” Geivett said.
Asked if the Rockies are keeping an eye on Chicago White Sox right-hander Jake Peavy with the trade deadline, Geivett simply said: “Yeah, our guys in pro scouting have been watching everybody. They have been watching everybody and trying to find somebody who would be helpful to our pitching.”