The Norman Transcript

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April 30, 2014

Braves struggle against Fernandez again

MIAMI — Last week, the Atlanta Braves managed only three hits and no runs against Miami ace Jose Fernandez.

Seeing him again Tuesday night, the Braves fared even worse.

Fernandez had the Braves guessing early and often, allowing two hits in eight stellar innings and leading the Marlins to a 9-0 win, easily the worst margin of defeat for Atlanta so far in this young season.

“We have to figure out how to beat Fernandez,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said after his team’s four-game winning streak was snapped. “Not everybody is Cy Young, and you still have to beat Cy Young every once in a while.”

Atlanta hadn’t been beaten by more than four runs this year, and the total margin of defeat in the Braves’ previous seven losses was a mere 12 runs.

But Fernandez (4-1) simply has dominated the Braves, allowing five hits and no runs in 16 innings over two starts against Atlanta this season. The Braves are batting .094 against him this year, with 22 strikeouts and two walks. And they made work pretty easy at times for Fernandez on Tuesday, allowing him to record his first seven outs on just 17 pitches.

“Same as last time — he’s good every time,” Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman said.

Braves starter Alex Wood (2-4) was not as good as last time, not by a long shot.

Wood and Fernandez had a memorable duel last week, combining for 25 strikeouts and no walks in what became a 1-0 Miami win.

This time, Fernandez — who got booed by some in the crowd after not running out a sharp grounder to shortstop leading off the third — only needed one run again. Miami just happened to give him eight more for good measure.

The runs came in bunches, with Miami scoring three in the third and five more in the sixth to chase Wood and break the game open. Wood gave up seven runs and 10 hits.

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