- Associated Press - Saturday, April 5, 2014

MIAMI (AP) - Jose Fernandez allowed his first two walks of the season, and they came back to back. When his foot slipped on a delivery, the pitch bounced several feet in front of the plate. One frustrating inning ended with the Miami Marlins’ precocious ace shaking his head and screaming angrily into his glove.

Fernandez was at less than his best Saturday, but still good enough to beat the San Diego Padres. He struck out eight in 6 2-3 innings while lowering his ERA to 0.71, and Miami beat the punchless San Diego Padres 5-0.

The Marlins improved to 5-1, their best start since 2009. Last year their fifth victory came in their 21st game, and they finished with 100 losses.

“Another win. It’s incredible,” Fernandez said. “To be 5-1 is pretty amazing.”


Fernandez (2-0) improved his career record at home to 11-0 despite being miffed about a high pitch count early in the game.

“He’s such a great competitor,” manager Mike Redmond said. “He wasn’t as sharp as I’ve seen. But his stuff is so good, he still has the ability to make his pitches when he needs to.”

Fernandez, who threw 108 pitches, left the game annoyed after throwing a wild pitch on a strikeout that allowed Alexi Amarista to reach base with two outs in the seventh. But he allowed only three hits and two walks.

“I threw a lot of pitches - not what I wanted to do,” Fernandez said. “But we won. That’s what I care about.”

Three relievers followed to complete a five-hitter.

Giancarlo Stanton had two RBIs to increase his season total to 11, one more than teammate Casey McGehee, who began the day leading the NL. Four of the Marlins’ runs scored with two outs.

“There’s a lot of good stuff going on right now,” Redmond said.

Andrew Cashner (0-1) allowed only two runs in six innings, but the offensively challenged Padres reached a new low - for the first time, they were shut out. They’ve scored eight runs this season, worst in the majors, and have lost four in a row since a win on opening day.

The Padres went 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position and are batting .108 (4 for 37) in those situations.

“Collectively as a group, we’re not swinging the bats well,” manager Bud Black said. “We are in a team-wide situation that we’re not swinging. We don’t have one guy that’s swinging the bat well. Inversely, you look at the Marlins they have guys who are swinging well. And that’s what happens. It’s cyclical during the course of a season.”

San Diego’s best threat against Fernandez came when he walked two to load the bases with the score 0-0 in the third, but he escaped when Seth Smith hit into an inning-ending double play.

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