PHOENIX (AP) – Cody Ross can see clearly now, so he must have had a nice view as his decisive pinch-hit home run sailed into the left-field seats.
Ross’ three-run shot in the eighth inning spoiled an outstanding outing by Miami’s young Jose Fernandez, and the Arizona Diamondbacks held off the Marlins 3-1 on Wednesday to take two of three in the series.
Fernandez (4-4) retired 14 in a row before walking two of the three batters he faced in the eighth. He was relieved by left-hander Mike Dunn, who gave up the home run to Ross on a 1-2 pitch.
“I was just trying to create something,” Ross said. “It hasn’t been too often this year that I’ve contributed, so it feels nice.”
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Ross says he has been bothered by blurred vision all season with problems with his contact lenses drying out, but a three-hour trip to the eye doctor on Wednesday finally found the right combination of lenses and eye drops.
“Honestly I was going up there with blurry vision half the time at the plate,” Ross said. “It’s hard enough to hit in this league when you’ve got good vision, as opposed to going up with blurry vision. But it’s just one of those things where you don’t want to make excuses, but it’s a true story. It was tough.”
Arizona starter Trevor Cahill left after a line drive bruised his right hip in the first. Josh Collmenter allowed one hit in six innings of relief, the latest in a series of his effective long-inning relief outings.
“It’s kind of unbelievable what he can do,” Cahill said, “pitch like a starter in a moment’s notice. That’s why he’s invaluable.”
Cahill said he thought he could have stayed in and pushed through the injury but the decision was made to play it safe.
Justin Ruggiano homered off Heath Bell to start the ninth.
Bell flirted with bigger trouble before recording his 13th save in 15 tries.
After Ruggiano’s homer, Ed Lucas singled to bring up Giancarlo Stanton, whose home run off Bell on Friday gave Miami a 3-2 victory. Stanton walked on five pitches to put runners on first and second with no outs.
Bell got Marcell Ozuna on a flyout, catcher Miguel Montero made a nice sliding catch of Derek Dietrich’s foul to the screen and pinch-hitter Logan Morrison struck out to give Arizona two of three against Miami.
David Hernandez (4-4) pitched a scoreless eighth to get the victory.
Fernandez, the 20-year-old Cuban refugee and a first-round draft pick in 2011, was charged with two runs on three hits with four strikeouts and those two costly late walks in 7 1-3 innings.
“This kid’s impressive. He’s got really good stuff. I think he’s got Cy Young stuff in the future,” Montero said. “I see him as a Cy Young (winner) in the near future because he’s got all his pitches. He’s that good.”
Dunn said Fernandez deserved a better outcome.
“The team went out there and battled all game today,” Dunn said. “Fernandez pitched his butt off, did a great job and on one pitch it’s like throw the whole outing away that he just had.”
Collmenter, who throws with an unorthodox overhand style, struck out seven and walked one and Miami manager Mike Redmond wondered why the Marlins couldn’t hit him.
“It looked to me like he was throwing some pretty good pitches to hit,” Redmond said. “He did throw a few change ups. That’s his pitch, but I was surprised he shut us down that many innings.”
Collmenter retired 13 in a row, striking out the side in the fourth, before Stanton singled to start the seventh. Stanton was stranded when Ozuna struck out, Dietrich popped out and Adieny Hechavarria flied out.
After Collmenter’s infield single to lead off the third, Fernandez didn’t allow another runner until Jason Kubel drew a leadoff walk on a 3-2 pitch in the eighth. A.J. Pollock popped to the catcher on a foul trying to advance the runner with a bunt, then Didi Gregorius walked to put runners at first and second with one out.
That ended Fernandez’s outing and the young pitcher wasn’t too happy with that final ball four call.
“The last pitch was a little close,” he said, “but I’m not an umpire, I’m a pitcher. If that was a ball then I’ve got to agree with it and that’s how it goes. It could go both ways but it’s not my call and there’s nothing I can do about it.”
Initially, left-handed batter Alex Hinske was announced as the pinch-hitter. But when the left-handed Dunn came on, manager Kirk Gibson switched to Ross, who is hitting .387 against lefties, blurry vision or no blurry vision.
Cahill, who had lost his previous three starts, took a lined shot off his right hip off the bat of Ozuna. The ball careened off Cahill to third baseman Martin Prado, who threw the runner out to end the inning. Cahill came out for the second inning and had a 2-1 count on Dietrich when the trainer came out and, after some discussion, the pitcher left the game.
Only one baserunner got as far as second through the first seven innings. That came in the first against Cahill, when Ruggiano advanced from first on a groundout.
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