Miami – It had been more than 400 days since Jose Fernandez stepped onto the mound in a major league game.
The long road to get back from Tommy John surgery was trying but ultimately inspiring. Appropriately, so was his triumphant return to the Miami Marlins in a rollicking matinee revival Thursday.
After a slow start, the charismatic Cuban not only resurrected the magic of his Rookie of the Year 2013 season, but he also contributed a timely home run that put the Marlins on course for a 5-4 victory that concluded a three-game sweep of the San Francisco Giants.
"I got a little emotional before I threw the first pitch," said Fernandez, whose thoughts flashed through everything he went through in nearly 14 months to get back. "I couldn't stop thinking about it, that life had given me another chance to be on the mound, given me another chance to do what I love. I almost teared up before I threw the first pitch. That's why it took me a little while.
"We got a win. I'm healthy. That's all I can ask for."
Fernandez, now 13-0 in his career at home, overcame a rocky beginning to complete six innings in which he gave up three runs and seven hits while striking out six with no walks. He departed with a 5-3 lead after 90 pitches (68 strikes).
The moment that most thrilled the crowd of 32,598 youth campers and work-skipping adults came when Fernandez led off the bottom of the fifth by launching a Matt Cain fastball 404 feet to left field for his second career home run.