MIAMI Jose Fernandez appeared on the verge of his first major-league career complete game.
Sure, the Miami Marlins had been very protective of their All-Star with the golden arm, saying the rookie's season would end after he throws 150-170 innings.
But on Sunday, Fernandez had struck out 13 Pirates through eight innings 13 Ks!
Plus, Pittsburgh had managed just five hits and trailed the Marlins 3-2 thanks to Giancarlo Stanton's go-ahead home run in the sixth.
Despite the double-digit strikeouts, Fernandez's pitch count was at 97 including 74 for strikes! Allowing no walks tends to reduce the number of pitches.
The moment seemed to call for the right-hander to return to the mound albeit with a very short leash. If one Pirate reached base, he'd be yanked.
In reality, manager Mike Redmond already had decided Fernandez was a goner.
"I told him, 'I'm going out,' " Fernandez said. " 'He said, 'We'll see.'
"In my mind, I was ready to go out there in the ninth. They decided not to let me....