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SD@MIA: Fernandez strikes out 10 in shutout start

Jose Fernandez has been in a groove as of late. And he knows it.

There's been an air of confidence surrounding the Marlins rookie right-hander during his past few starts, and recently Fernandez has been going to pitching coach Chuck Hernandez between innings -- usually in the sixth -- and telling Hernandez he's good to go the distance.

Hernandez responds: "No, you haven't gotten the first out of the seventh yet."

If that conversation took place during Fernandez's last start, the 20-year-old was nearly prophetic, as he tossed eight scoreless innings and struck out 10. It was Fernandez's second 10-strikeout game this season, with the first coming against Sunday's opponent, the Cardinals, on June 14.

Fernandez -- who faces St. Louis right-hander Lance Lynn in Sunday's series finale at Busch Stadium -- has been especially dominant as of late, going 3-1 with a 1.34 ERA and .150 average against in his last six starts. He was named to the National League All-Star team on Saturday.

The Marlins' main focus now is keeping the youngster grounded.

"Staying together and keeping his feet on the ground," Hernandez said. "I never doubted that he had that kind of talent, to be honest with you.

"I'm not totally surprised, because even though he's child-like in many facets, having fun and stuff. He's a bright guy. He's no dumb dumb. He's not like he walks around saying, 'I've got a great arm.' He really is conscious about staying on top of every facet of his game, which really intrigues me. He really impresses me from game to game. Even when he has a good outing, there are things we talk about."

While Fernandez has been filthy, Lynn hasn't been himself. Outside of holding to Cubs to one run on June 20, the right-hander has struggled, posting a 6.16 ERA in his last five starts and has lost consecutive games for the first time in his career.

Lynn has already been lit up by Miami during this stretch, allowing seven runs on nine hits in five innings on June 15, but managed to come away with the win.

Marlins: Ruggiano's road power
All 12 of Justin Ruggiano's home runs this season have come on the road. According to STATS LCC and SABR, that's tied with Derrek Lee (2000) for the club record to start a season.

• Outfielder Giancarlo Stanton is hitting .379 with four doubles and two homers in his last nine games against the Cardinals

Cardinals: Mujica vows not to shake off Molina
Closer Edward Mujica blew his first save of the season on Thursday after shaking off catcher Yadier Molina -- something Mujica said he plans to never do again. Manager Mike Matheny said although the staff has the utmost confidence in Molina, the final decision on pitch selection comes down to what the pitchers are feeling.

"If you're going to weigh what you know scouting wise versus what the pitcher feels is going to be the best pitch, you always go with what the pitcher feels except in rare occasions where you know it's a pitch that could really lead to trouble," Matheny said. "But for the most part, if the pitcher has confidence in a pitch, he's going to execute that better than the pitch that you talk him into."

• Shortstop Pete Kozma could return to the lineup on Sunday after sitting the last three games to search for his swing and confidence.

"He had a great batting practice yesterday," Matheny said. "We'll continue just to evaluate, but I think he's getting stronger too, getting a little bit of rest. All things are pointing in a good direction."

Worth noting
• The Cardinals lead the season series, 3-2.

• St. Louis' Allen Craig has a seven-game hitting streak, during which he's batting .455.

• The Marlins pitching staff has issued just 38 walks in its last 150 innings.

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