By HAL McCOY
When Jose Fernandez hangs a ‘Home, Sweet Home’ sign on his locker in Miami, he means just that: ‘Home, Sweet Home.’
Marlins Park is his domain and any opposing baseball teams that treads on his turf are destined for a long, long night.
The Cincinnati Reds discovered ‘The Fernandez Factor’ Friday night during a 3-1 loss to the Miami Marlins.
FERNANDEZ WAS THE Marlins starting pitcher and he held the Reds to one unearned run, six hits, walked nobody and struck out eight.
So, over his 36 career starts in Marlins Park he is an incredible 25-and-1.
Reds starter Dan Straily was the unfortunate guy who drew Fernandez as a pitching opponent Friday and while Straily was good, a quality start, it wasn’t good enough. Straily gave up three runs, six hits, walked two and struck out two only to see his record fall to 4-and-6.
MIAMI SCORED A RUN in the first inning on back-to-back one-out doubles by Martin Prado and Christian Yelich for a 1-0 lead.
The Reds tied it, 1-1, in the fourth when Billy Hamilton singled and took second when right fielder Giancarlo Stanton bobbled the hit.
That enabled Hamilton to score on Adam Duvall’s single to left and Duvall took second when left fielder Yelich bobbled the ball.
Brandon Phillips beat a single up the middle that was stopped by second baseman Derek Dietrich. Duvall tried to score from second and Dietrich threw him out at the plate.
THE REDS HAD THEIR final opportunity in the fifth inning on back-to-back singles to open the inning by Eugenio Suarez and Tucker Barnhart, who is 10 for 23 on this trip.
Fernandez, though, did what Fernandez does. After Straily bunted Barnhart to second, putting runners on third and second with one out, Fernandez struck out Zack Cozart and Billy Hamilton grounded to short to end the inning.
That was it. No more chances. Fourteen of the final 15 Reds made outs and closer A.J. Ramos pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 26th save in 27 opportunities.
The Marlins broke the 1-1 tie in the fourth when Straily walked the first two batters of the inning and Derek Dietrich singled to left field for a 2-1 lead.
Miami added an insurance run in the sixth when Christian Yelich homered into the shrubbery beyond the left field wall for a 3-1 advantage and Yelich had two of the team’s three runs batted in.
The loss ended the Reds modest two-game winning streak, but for the third straight game the bullpen was unscored upon. Blake Wood pitched a 1-2-3 seventh and Ross Ohlendorf gave up a one-out singled in the eighth but nothing else.