Matt Kamlet, CBSLA.com
MIAMI (CBSLA.com) — There was something a little extra special about the series opener between the Dodgers and Marlins in Miami on Monday.
It seemed that almost anywhere you looked, there was a National League Rookie of the Year Contender.
Between, Dodgers phenom Yasiel Puig in the outfield, rookie hurler Hyun-Jin Ryu on the mound, and Marlins starter and fellow Cuban defector Jose Fernandez hoping to continue his dominance of late, there was no lack of young, raw competition at Marlins Park.
Of the three, it was Fernandez who made his case on Monday night.
Fernandez struck out eight Dodgers through and gave up a single run through six innings as the Marlins beat the Dodgers 6-2 on Monday to give Los Angeles their first two-game losing streak in two months.
Fernandez gave Ryu, who hits well for a pitcher, a taste of his own medicine when he connected on a single up the middle in the third inning, and later scored on a deep double to left by leadoff man Christian Yelich to take a 1-0 lead. The third inning struggles continued for Ryu when he gave up another RBI single to Donovan Solano before finally getting out of the inning.
Puig, who made his first major league visit to Miami, where he has a home, went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts.
The rookie seemed welcomed enough in Miami. There was even a Marlins fan holding a sign that read, “Welcome To Miami, Yasiel Puig!”
The Dodgers responded in the fifth inning by loading the bases with no one out. Crawford put what looked like a double play ball on the ground to second, but a slowly developed play allowed him to beat the throw to first and scored a Dodger run.
Puig’s ensuing at-bat resulted in a near ejection.
After swinging and missing at a fastball, home plate umpire John Hirschbeck called a strike on a ball that appeared off the plate. Puig reacted to the call by staring at Hirschbeck for four or five seconds. The next pitch, a high fastball out of the zone, was swung on and missed, and before anyone knew it, Hirschbeck took his mask off and was barking at Puig, who had apparently said something on his way to the dugout.
The vocals continued back and forth for some time, with Juan Uribe trying in vain to settle the Wild Horse, who was anything but subtle in his displeasure with the calls from behind the plate. Puig would remain in the game.
The next batter, Adrian Gonzalez, struck out swinging, and the Dodgers had to settle for the solo run.
Puig’s struggles at the plate would continue, striking out again on three straight pitches in the seventh inning.
The Dodgers road trip so far has already been identified with narrowly escaping big injuries. The next scare took place in the sixth when Andre Ethier was drilled on the kneecap by a breaking ball. Ethier went down to a knee, and struggled to walk to first.
Nevertheless, Ethier was called into action when Uribe connected on his third hit of the ball game — a line drive to left. Ethier steamed around the bases and scored easily on the play to tie the game, and would remain in the game.
The Marlins regained the lead when Logan Morrison slapped a fastball — the third consecutive single off Ryu — into right field to score a run from second, before Ed Lucas was intentionally walked to load the bases with one out.
The decision paid off, as Ryu got Adeiny Hechavarria to ground into a double play to end the inning.
In the eighth inning, the Miami Marlins, who hardly average 18,000 fans per home game, started bullying the formerly hot Dodgers.
Chris Withrow took over in the eight inning, and gave up a solo shot to Giancarlo Stanton to extend the Miami lead to two runs. Lucas then singled off J.P. Howell to score Morrison from second. That was followed by a Hechavarria grounder that got past the glove of Hanley Ramirez and into center field to score Lucas.
The Dodgers will put Chris Capuano on the mound on Tuesday.