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Yelich has strong debut as Marlins beat Rockies

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The Canadian Press
7/23/2013 11:47:33 PM
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DENVER -- The newcomer helped out his fellow rookie.

Christian Yelich went 3 for 4 with two RBIs in his major league debut and impressive rookie Jose Fernandez tossed seven strong innings, lifting the Miami Marlins to a 4-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night.

Yelich, one of Miami's top prospects, became just the third Marlins player to have three or more hits in his career debut. His third single of the night, though, almost earned him a spot on the bench.

After all, his manager, Mike Redmond, didn't want Yelich breaking his mark. Redmond was 3 for 3 with a homer in his big league debut with the Marlins in 1998.

"When he got that third hit, I was like, 'There's no way this guy can top me,"' Redmond said, laughing.

Yelich began his career in fine fashion, too, with a single to right in the first inning. This sort of start was better than he could've envisioned.

"You can think about it and dream about it all you want, but going out there and actually living it and being able to be a part of something like this is pretty special and something I'll never forget," Yelich said.

He's taking away mementos, too: a baseball to commemorate his first hit and another in recognition of his inaugural RBI, a single to centre in the third.

"Went up there and just tried to stay within myself," Yelich explained. "To go out and do that and for us to get a 'W' is a special night."

Fernandez continued to shine in his rookie season.

Making his first start since appearing in the All-Star game, Fernandez (6-5) baffled the Rockies all evening as he pitched out of several jams and limited one of the league's top-hitting teams to five hits and two runs. He also struck out eight.

"I went out there and felt great," Fernandez said.

Giancarlo Stanton provided some insurance with a solo homer in the eighth and Adeiny Hechavarria had an RBI double for the Marlins, who have taken two straight in the four-game series against Colorado.

Jhoulys Chacin (9-5) was hit in the upper left thigh by a line drive early, but stayed in the game. He pitched seven solid innings, allowing three runs and eight hits.

"It didn't affect me or anything," he said of the line drive. "Hopefully it's not going to be that bad."

Fernandez started out of the dugout to begin the eighth, only to be called back when the Rockies sent up a pinch hitter. The Marlins countered with reliever Mike Dunn, who tossed a perfect inning. Steve Cishek closed out the ninth for his 19th save in 21 chances, getting Todd Helton to pop out to end the game.

Helton hit a solo homer to give the Rockies an early lead and Carlos Gonzalez brought in another run on a groundout.

That was all the offence the Rockies could manage against Fernandez, a pitcher they had only heard about until Tuesday. Fernandez relied on a nasty curve time and time again to bail him out of potential trouble.

Fernandez's only mistake was leaving a 94-mph fastball up to Helton, who lined it over the wall in right.

"I'm thinking, 'This guy, he's kind of old," Fernandez said. "I know he can hit. So maybe I have a shot to blow it by him? I blew it by him -- into the second deck. Sorry about that."

The Rockies received quite a scare in the third when Hechavarria's two-out liner appeared to catch Chacin in the upper left thigh, sending the right-hander tumbling to the dirt. Chacin got back up, paced around the mound for a moment, threw a few warm-up tosses and then motioned he was all right.

Chacin couldn't escape the inning unscathed as Hechavarria, who was credited with a single, stole second and scored on Yelich's single to centre.

"They gave me a lead. I know it's only one run, but I feel like I have to do my job and I feel like I didn't do my job by keeping the lead," Chacin said.

In addition to Yelich, Jake Marisnick also made his big league debut, but wound up hitless in four plate appearances. Both Marisnick and Yelich were called up from Double-A Jacksonville on Tuesday.

"Jake and I were watching the game last night on TV and we knew we were coming here at that point," Yelich said. "We were saying, 'Hey man, we're going to be playing on that field."'

NOTES: Stanton is the only other Marlins player to have three hits in his career debut, going 3 for 5 on June, 8, 2010, at Philadelphia. ... Chacin has held opponents to three or fewer earned runs in 14 of his 19 starts this season.

Miami Marlins (Photo: TSN.ca)

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(Photo: TSN.ca)
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