The Dodgers didn’t have much of an answer for Jose Fernandez, who completely shut them down in the Marlins’ 4-1 win, spoiling the return of Clayton Kershaw on Friday night in Miami.
The loss snapped the Dodgers’ five-game winning streak, and made them 0-5 against Miami and former manager Don Mattingly in 2016.
Fernandez pitched seven scoreless innings on Friday and struck out 14 batters, the most by a pitcher against the Dodgers since Randy Johnson struck out 15 on Aug. 31, 2004.
Kershaw struck out five of his own, but was rusty in his first major league start in 75 days. Kershaw allowed a pair of runs, and was pulled after laboring through 66 pitches in his three innings.
The Marlins doubled their lead in the fifth, an inning that seemed interminably long and not just because of the four different pitchers used by the Dodgers. Miami hit one ball out of the infield in the inning — a fly out — but still scored twice thanks in two walks, a steal of third by Dee Gordon on a pickoff to first base, two infield singles, and a hit by pitch that hit two people.
Josh Fields hit Ichiro Suzuki with a pitch with the bases loaded to force in the second run of the inning, but the ball only glanced off his shoulder, saving the brunt of the impact for the collarbone/neck area of home plate umpire Brian Knight, who was forced to leave the game because of the pitch.
At least he was spared from watching the rest of the frame. Knight also didn’t have to hear any more complaints from Corey Seager, Andrew Toles or Justin Turner, all of whom had words for the home plate umpire after striking out against Fernandez.
They weren’t alone, of course, as Fernandez had his eighth start with double-digit strikeouts in 2016.
The Dodgers put two runners on base in each of the first two innings, but were unable to bring any of them in. Then Fernandez got into a groove, striking out the side in the fourth and fanning three more in the fifth while working around a double by Josh Reddick.
Fernandez allowed only two batters to reach base in his final five innings.
Reddick, it should be noted, had three hits, extending his hitting streak to seven games, during which he is hitting .542 (13-for-24) with two doubles and a home run.
But that was pretty much it for the Dodgers offense on Friday, until Yasmani Grandal hit a solo shot in the ninth inning, his fourth home run in his last six games.
A pair of singles followed Grandal’s home run to bring the tying run to the plate against Fernando Rodney, but the Marlins calibrated their bow and arrow with closer A.J. Ramos, who got the final three outs to finish off the Dodgers.
Rich Hill makes his third start as a Dodger on Saturday, a 4:10 p.m. PT start. Tom Koehler starts for the Marlins in the middle game of the series.
Home runs: Yasmani Grandal (25); J.T. Realmuto (10)
WP - Jose Fernandez (14-8): 7 IP, 3 hit, 3 walks, 14 strikeouts
LP - Clayton Kershaw (11-3): 3 IP, 5 hits, 2 runs, 5 strikeouts
Sv - A.J. Ramos (33): 1 IP, 2 strikeouts