MIAMI (AP) - In his season finale, Miami Marlins rookie sensation Jose Fernandez pitched seven innings, hit his first major-league homer and engaged in a standoff with the annoyed Atlanta Braves that cleared both benches and bullpens.
When he had completed his eventful evening, Fernandez slowly walked off the mound one last time, removing his cap as the crowd gave him a standing ovation. Two relievers pitched the final two innings, and the woeful Marlins beat the playoff-bound Braves 5-2.
The game was the last of the season for the demonstrative 21-year-old Fernandez because he passed his 170-inning limit set by the Marlins. A top candidate for NL Rookie of the Year, he finished 12-6 with an ERA of 2.19, second-lowest in the majors behind only the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw.
Fernandez homered in the sixth inning, and after slowly circling the bases he engaged in a heated exchange with catcher Brian McCann, which prompted the other players to join them. Shoves were swapped but no punches were evident, and no one was ejected.
Bad blood became evident in the top of the sixth, when Fernandez stared at the Braves bench muttering as he walked off the mound to end the inning, then waved his arms in agitation in the dugout. It was unclear what he was upset about, and the Marlins led 4-1 at the time.
When Fernandez homered a short time later, he admired the hit before slowly starting into his trot. He spat as he rounded third base, and third baseman Chris Johnson said something to him.
McCann and Fernandez then traded words at the plate, and after umpire Sam Holbrook stepped between them, other players quickly joined the dispute. Fernandez laughed as he was pulled away by teammates, and the crowd of 25,111 roared.
Fernandez returned to the mound to pitch a hitless seventh and complete his season. He allowed five hits and one run, walked three and struck out five, and finished 9-0 in 15 home starts.
The Braves' only run off Fernandez came when Evan Gattis homered on the first pitch of the sixth. Atlanta went 0 for 7 against the right-hander with runners in scoring position.
Miami's Giancarlo Stanton hit his 20th homer and drove in three runs.
Fernandez caught a break in the first inning. Jordan Schafer led off with a double and advanced on a flyout, and with two out, a pitch by Fernandez got past catcher Koyie Hill.
But the ball caromed directly back to the catcher, Schafer held, and Gattis grounded out on the next pitch to end the inning.
A similar, improbable ricochet on a pitch led to a rundown that gave the Braves the final out in their 4-3 victory Tuesday.
Fernandez pitched around a two-out double by Andrelton Simmons in the second. He walked two in the fourth, when the Braves loaded the bases with two out, but Elliot Johnson popped out to end the inning.
Fernandez again escaped trouble - and injury - in the fifth. With two out and a runner at second, Freddie Freeman shattered his bat on a squibber to the pitcher. Fernandez fielded the ball and avoided the barrel of the bat, which rolled under his glove, then threw to first for the out to end the inning.
Notes: Braves RF Justin Upton was back in the lineup after leaving Tuesday's game when he fouled a ball off his right knee. ... Hanging in the Marlins dugout near the bat rack was a team jersey, and on the back it read, ``Never Forget 9/11.' ... Marlins RHP Nathan Eovaldi is likely to be scratched from scheduled start Thursday against Atlanta because of back tightness. Rookie LHP Brian Flynn would take his place.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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