Elieser Hernandez secured the Marlins’ fifth-starter spot in Summer Camp. In his first start of the season, the 25-year-old right-hander was nearly unhittable.
Hernandez worked 4 1/3 hitless innings, Brian Anderson belted a solo home run, and the Marlins edged the Orioles, 1-0, on Wednesday in Game 1 of a seven-inning doubleheader at Camden Yards.
“Every time you see this rotation, I really get inspired to see the talent that they have,” Hernandez said through an interpreter. “I really wanted to join the rotation and help the team. Now that I'm here, that's what we want to do -- win some games.”
Hernandez is in his third season with the organization, after being a Rule 5 Draft claim from the Astros in 2018. At the time, he had not pitched at a level higher than Class A Advanced.
With three-fifths of the rotation on the injured list -- Sandy Alcantara, Caleb Smith and José Ureña -- Hernandez and Pablo López are the only two still available.
The Marlins won the first two games of the series, holding Baltimore scoreless for the first 16 innings, and improved to 4-1 on the season.
Hernandez struck out five, with one walk and two hit batters.
Not wanting to overextend Hernandez in his first outing, manager Don Mattingly went to his bullpen with runners on the corners and one out in the fifth inning. Right-hander Nick Vincent used one pitch to induce Hanser Alberto to tap into an inning-ending double play.
Hernandez was on point in his 66-pitch outing. The first hit he allowed was a ground-rule double to Chance Sisco in the fifth, then he gave up Pedro Severino’s bloop single to center, which ended his day.
The Marlins have logged six no-hitters in franchise history. But even if Hernandez had not allowed a hit in the seven-inning game, it would not have been recognized as a no-hitter, unless the game extended to nine innings and he completed them all.
Miami’s ability to grind out at-bats in the third inning inflated Orioles starter Alex Cobb’s pitch count, and Anderson was the beneficiary to lead off the fourth.
Anderson drove Cobb’s 1-0 fastball over the wall in right field for an opposite-field home run. The drive was estimated at 347 feet with an exit velocity of 102.9 mph, according to Statcast.
The Marlins continued to show collectively strong approaches at the plate. In the third, Cobb had logged two outs while also yielding a single to Jonathan Villar on seven pitches. But Corey Dickerson then worked a 10-pitch walk, and Jesús Aguilar induced seven more pitches from Cobb before striking out. Those 17 pitches spiked Cobb’s pitch total to 24 in the frame.
Prior to Sunday's Reds-Tigers debut of MLB's new seven-inning doubleheader, the only twin bill since 1900 featuring two games of seven innings or less was on Sept. 19, 1912, between the Indians and Red Sox at League Park in Cleveland. The first game lasted five innings (called due to rain) and the second game lasted six (called due to darkness).
Also, the last DH prior to Sunday's Cincinnati-Detroit matchup that was a total of 14 or fewer innings was on May 29, 1915, between the Pirates and Cardinals at Forbes Field. The first game was five innings and the second game was nine.