MIAMI -- Jose Fernandez was on top of his game on Sunday afternoon. He needed to be, because Matt Harvey was also sharp. But on a day where hits were scarce, Fernandez posted big strikeout numbers, matching his career high with 14 over seven innings in the Marlins' 1-0 win
MIAMI -- Jose Fernandez was on top of his game on Sunday afternoon. He needed to be, because Matt Harvey was also sharp. But on a day where hits were scarce, Fernandez posted big strikeout numbers, matching his career high with 14 over seven innings in the Marlins' 1-0 win over the Mets at Marlins Park.
Fernandez (9-2) was simply dominant, scattering just four hits, and he worked out of only one jam, which came with two outs in the seventh. The 23-year-old tied a club record with his eighth straight victory, posting a 1.38 ERA with 78 strikeouts since April 28.
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"I'm trying more to just worry about a pitch at a time and not think of who I'm pitching against," Fernandez said. "Obviously, with all due respect, Harvey was throwing the ball great. It's fun to see him out there, throwing the ball hard, making good pitches. We came out on top today, and I'm really happy about it. I'm just excited, happy that we got a win."
Fernandez, David Phelps and closer A.J. Ramos combined on Miami's third shutout of the season. Ramos improved to 18-0 in save chances, which matches Juan Carlos Oviedo (2011) for the longest such streak to open a season.
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Harvey was throwing hard, 97 mph, but he wasn't getting big strikeout totals. He had just three through seven innings, but he also limited Miami to four hits. Miami was able to break through against Harvey in the fifth inning. Derek Dietrich doubled and scored on J.T. Realmuto's single to center.
"We knew it was going to be a pitchers' duel with Fernandez on the mound," Mets catcher Rene Rivera said. "I think he did a great job keeping us in the ballgame."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Career day for Jose: Strikeouts were coming at a rapid pace for Fernandez. The 23-year-old matched his career high with 14 strikeouts, done three times in his career, the last coming on April 22, 2014, against Atlanta. Miami's ace recorded his fifth double-digit strikeout game of the season and the 14th of his career. That's a club record, passing the 13 Ricky Nolasco previously set. Fernandez relied heavily on his breaking pitches to record strikeouts. Of his 14 strikeouts, 12 were on sliders.
Fernandez's eight-game win streak matches Chris Hammond (1993) for longest in franchise history.
"A lot of location. A lot of making pitches at the right time, in the right situation, and not try to throw 105 on every pitch," Fernandez said. "That's something we have been working on because, obviously, I like to go out there and throw 155 miles per hour on every pitch, because that's what I feel like I should do. In time, with things you learn, you become a pitcher and not just a guy with good stuff. You want to get people out in a way you don't have to."
Harvey solid in losing effort: Though Harvey took his eighth loss in 12 starts, that had far more to do with Fernandez's performance than his own. Again looking far more like his old self than the version who owned a 6.08 ERA as recently as two starts ago, Harvey retired five straight Marlins to start the game and eight straight from the second through fifth innings.
"I think it's a little bit of everything," Harvey said of his turnaround. "When you're out there and you don't feel great with any sort of pitch, it can be discouraging. But the last two starts and in between starts … everything's been feeling really good." More >
Dietrich delivers double: Dietrich's single with two outs in the second inning was the only baserunner the Mets' right-hander had allowed entering the sixth. With one out, Dietrich doubled off Harvey to deep right-center. It set up Realmuto's single to center, which put Miami on the board as Dietrich raced home. Dietrich entered the game 2-for-9 against Harvey with five strikeouts.
"That was a huge double by Dietrich," Realmuto said. "I was lucky enough to get myself into a hitters' count, 2-0. The at-bat before, I got myself into a 2-0 count and fouled off two good fastballs to hit. I think I got too big on them, tried to do too much. In that at-bat, once I got to 2-0, I tried to just focus on shortening up, getting a good pitch and hitting it up the middle. I put a pretty good swing on it."
Take a seat: The Mets did not put multiple runners on base simultaneously until the seventh inning, when Michael Conforto and James Loney hit consecutive two-out singles. But on his 100th pitch of the afternoon, Fernandez threw a breaking ball that Wilmer Flores flailed at well out of the zone, stranding both runners to keep his scoreless streak intact.
"That's how the games go: 1-0." -- Rivera, on the matchup between Fernandez and Harvey
"We've played really good games. This has been one inning and certain pitches and certain hits. They got clutch hits, and they made certain plays that beat us. It wasn't like we were throwing the games away. Really good games. They came out on the positive end two games, and we were able to do it today." -- Ramos, on the Marlins salvaging the final game of the series
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
It was "Bark at the Park" day in Miami on Sunday. The announced crowd was 28,196, which included 927 dogs. That's a Marlins Park record for dogs in the stands.
Mets:Neil Walker will return to his hometown of Pittsburgh when the Mets and Pirates begin a three-game series on Monday at PNC Park. Walker, a Pittsburgh native who played seven seasons for the Pirates before coming to New York last winter, will face the player for whom he was traded: left-hander Jon Niese. Steven Matz will start for the Mets opposite his former teammate in the 7:05 p.m. ET game.
Marlins: After playing 17 straight days, the Marlins are scheduled off on Monday. They open a two-game Interleague series with the Twins at 8:10 p.m. ET on Tuesday at Target Field. Adam Conley (3-3, 3.72 ERA) starts for Miami against lefty Pat Dean (1-2, 4.15 ERA).
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Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.