By pushing one of his two remaining starts back, the Miami Marlins were hoping rookie phenom Jose Fernandez would be able to make a statement in his final starts at home.
Fernandez continued to make his case to become the National League Rookie of The Year winner after pitching seven scoreless innings in the Marlins' 7-0 win against the Washington Nationals on Friday night.
Jose Fernandez flirts with no hitter
Although they are currently not sitting atop the National League East standings as they were a year ago, the Washington Nationals are one of the NL's better hitting teams. Since being promoted in May, Jose Fernandez has consistently dominated successful lineups, as he did to the Nationals on Friday.
Fernandez is 8-0 with a 1.19 ERA in 14 home starts this season, which, according to MLB.com, makes him the only rookie with a minimum of 12 starts to be undefeated at home since 1921.
Over seven scoreless innings, Fernandez gave up one hit and struck out nine while walking two. He lowered his ERA to 2.23 with one remaining start.
The Nationals' only hit came in the sixth inning when Zach Walters hit a slow ground ball down the third base line that stayed in fair territory.
Fernandez will make his final start of the 2013 season on Wednesday night when the Marlins host the Atlanta Braves.
Stanton, Morrison go deep as offense supports Fernandez
Several of Fernandez's six losses have come as a result of a lack of run support. That wasn't the case on Friday, as the Marlins scored five times off of Washington starter Dan Haren and forced Nationals manager Davey Johnson to take him out of the game after three innings.
Miami took a quick 3-0 lead, as Giancarlo Stanton drove in two runs with a bases loaded single in the bottom of the first. Placido Polanco followed with a sacrifice fly.
Haren walked Stanton with an out in the third, and Logan Morrison gave the Marlins a 5-0 advantage with a home run to right field.
Stanton also homered in the bottom of the eighth.
Hand and Qualls close it out
The Marlins' bullpen was able to secure the win for Fernandez, as Chad Qualls and Brad Hand both pitched scoreless innings in relief.
Hand is one of several minor league starting pitchers that the Marlins called up once rosters expanded. The squad has used several minor league starters out of the bullpen to get them into games.
Hand is a candidate to replace Fernandez in the rotation after his next start.