PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Cole Hamels made two bad pitches on a night he had to be perfect.
Jose Fernandez pitched one-hit ball and struck out nine in seven dominant innings, leading the Miami Marlins over the Philadelphia Phillies 2-0 Saturday night for his first win in the majors.
Hamels (1-4) was a hard-luck loser again. He allowed two runs on solo homers and four hits, striking out six in eight innings.
“I’ve pitched a few years,” Hamels said. “It’s a matter of being comfortable on what you can do. You make adjustments and eventually things will change.”
Hamels, who signed a $144 million, six-year contract last July, isn’t getting ace-like results this year. The Phillies are 1-6 when he pitches and he has a 4.34 ERA. Hamels, however, has five straight quality starts and an ERA of 2.31 in that span. The Phillies have scored just nine runs in those five outings.
Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, the Phillies’ other two high-priced aces, have fared only slightly little better. The Phillies are 5-14 when the $64.5 million trio of Hamels, Halladay or Lee start. They’re 9-3 when Kyle Kendrick, John Lannan and Jonathan Pettibone start.
“We need a win to get on a roll,” Hamels said.
Marcell Ozuna hit his first career homer and Chris Valaika connected for the first time in three years to stop Hamels.
Fernandez (1-2) allowed just a single by Freddy Galvis up the middle in the first. He then retired the next 17 batters.
“I was just ready to pitch,” Fernandez said. “I look forward to every start like it’s the World Series.”
Fernandez walked Galvis in the seventh, and followed that up by striking out Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Delmon Young.
“He was great out there,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. “He commanded the strike zone. Obviously they’re a tough lineup. I’m happy for him to get his first win. He’s a worker. He studies film. He makes adjustments. He wants it.”
Fernandez was lifted after throwing 82 pitches. Mike Dunn worked a perfect eighth and Steve Cishek finished off the one-hitter to get his fourth save in five tries.
Fernandez mixed a deceptive curve with an overpowering fastball, baffling hitters from the start. He got eight of his strikeouts swinging, including seven against Philadelphia’s 3-4-5 hitters.
“It was a case of guy with a lot of talent and he was on,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.
Fernandez fanned five batters with his curve and four others on fastballs between 95-97 mph. He struck out Howard three times and Utley and Young twice in setting his career high.
“He’s really impressive,” Hamels said of the 20-year-old rookie righty. “He’s going to be a great pitcher for a long time. He’s not afraid to throw any pitch at any time.”
Ozuna led off the second with a drive into the left-center field stands. Filling in for the injured Giancarlo Stanton, Ozuna has a hit in each of his first five games.
Valaika, a late addition to the starting lineup, connected in the third for his second career homer and first since hitting one for Cincinnati against the Chicago Cubs on Aug. 27, 2010.
Fernandez, one of the few bright spots on the Marlins (9-22), has thrown 13 scoreless innings and allowed just three hits against the Phillies this season. He didn’t get a decision in Miami’s 2-1 win over Philadelphia on April 13.
Hamels escaped a scary moment in the seventh when he snared Miguel Olivio’s hard liner back to the mound. Hamels caught the ball inches in front of his face.
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