Miami Marlins rookie pitcher Jose Fernandez had an easy explanation for his success this season after beating Colorado 3-0 in a recent start


“I just tried to go out there and get outs, get back in the dugout and let my team try to get some runs, and that’s what we did,” Fernandez said. “It feels pretty good to win.”

It was the fifth start this season that Fernandez, 21, hadn’t allowed any runs, and his third in August.

He allowed four hits against the Rockies and didn’t walk a batter. From June 1 to the Aug. 24 game, Fernandez went 8-2 in 15 starts with a 1.52 ERA. The All-Star right-hander is 10-6 with a 2.33 ERA after a 2-1 loss to Atlanta on Saturday.

“I don’t know if I’ve seen another 21-year old as good as him, as polished as him at that age,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. “He is impressive with the way he commands all of his pitches.”

Fernandez allowed just three hits while striking out eight in six innings in Saturday’s defeat. He hasn’t given up more than two earned runs in a start since July 7th. Fernandez has 173 strikeouts, a Marlins rookie record, in 158.2 innings pitched this season.

The Marlins plan to shut down Fernandez for the rest of the season after he reaches a 170-innings limit. He’ll start Friday at home against Washington, with his last start likely coming at home next week against the Braves.

Rays – From Best to Wild-Card? On August 24, the Tampa Bay Rays were tied for first place in the AL East with Boston, and had a 74-53 record, which was among the best in the major leagues. But following a 5-1 loss at Oakland on Sunday that completed a three-game sweep by the A’s, and an 11-2 defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles Angels on Monday, the Rays had lost eight of their last nine games to fall 5 1/2 games behind the Red Sox, who won seven of 10.

The Rays stopped hitting, and scoring. In four consecutive losses ending with the sweep by Oakland, Tampa Bay scored just five runs. Rookie Wil Myers was in a 2-for-27 slump; Evan Longoria was in a 2-for-26 slump and Desmond Jennings had driven in one run in his last 22 games.

Instead of battling Boston for first in the East, the Rays are trying to fight off Baltimore, the New York Yankees and Cleveland for the last wild-card playoff spot. It won’t be easy. Four of the Rays final six series are against the Red Sox, Rangers, Orioles and Yankees.

Another strong finish for A’s? Oakland’s sweep of Tampa Bay was its first in a series of three or more games since June 11-13 against the Yankees. Then the A’s won the first of a three-game series against Texas on Monday, vaulting them into a tie for first place in the AL West with the Rangers. It was the A’s seventh win in their last eight games.

Because of the tie in the division, Oakland and Texas were leading the wild-card standings as well, with Tampa Bay holding down the second wild-card.

The A’s, who went 14-13 in August, are hoping for another strong finish that saw them go 20-11 after August 2012, including a three-game sweep of the Rangers in the final weekend of the season that gave Oakland the AL West title by a single game.

“This is what we look forward to, a chance to control our own destiny and get where we want to be, and that’s to win the division,” A’s third baseman Josh Donaldson said after Sunday’s win over the Rays.

StatsWatch: Baseball’s home run leaders, through Monday, along with their projected total at the end of the season –

  • Chris Davis, Orioles, 47, projected total, 56
  • Miguel Cabrera, Tigers, 43, projected 51
  • Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays, 35, projected 40
  • Pedro Alvarez, Pirates, 32, projected 38
  • Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks, 31, projected 37

Diamond Notes: The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired infielder Michael Young from Philadelphia on Saturday. They plan to use Young, 36, off the bench at third base and first base. The Phillies receive minor league left-hander Rob Rasmussen, who went 3-4 with a 2.55 ERA at Double-A Chattanooga…Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke (14-3) won his sixth straight start in a 2-1 win over San Diego on Sunday. It’s the first time he’s done that since winning nine straight from 2008-09. It was the Dodgers 10th sweep this season…Pittsburgh continues trying to improve its roster as it seeks the club’s first playoff appearance since 1992. The Pirates acquired first baseman Justin Morneau from the Minnesota Twins on Saturday for outfielder Alex Presley and other considerations. Morneau, 32, hit .259 with 17 homers and 74 RBIs with the Twins this season. He won the 2006 AL MVP award. The Pirates also obtained outfielder Marlon Byrd and catcher John Buck last week from the Yankees in exchange for a pair of minor league players.

Copyright ã 2013 Bob Hurst. All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Hurst Sports Media.

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