(Reuters) - Jose Fernandez made a triumphant return after more than a year out with injury when he hit a solo home run and pitched a winning game for the Miami Marlins on Thursday.
Even better, the 5-4 home victory came against last year’s World Series-winning San Francisco Giants.
The 22-year-old from Cuba had not pitched in a Major League game since May, 2014 after he underwent Tommy John elbow surgery and then endured a long recovery process.
His home run off San Francisco starter Matt Cain sparked a four-run fifth inning that built a winning 5-3 lead.
“I was kind of joking around today, saying, ‘I’m going to try to hit it out’,” Fernandez told reporters.
“I got lucky. Really excited to put one more run on the board.
“We got a win and I’m healthy. That’s all I can ask for.”
On the mound, Fernandez made a tentative start, giving up two runs in the first inning before settling down to pitch six solid frames.
He threw 89 pitches, including 68 strikes, struck out six, allowed seven hits and issued no walks.
“I would have loved to have pitched better but we got the first one out of the way with a win. That’s exciting,” Fernandez said.
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by John O'Brien