NEW YORK — Eight strikeouts, excellent control and plenty of poise. The only thing missing from Jose Fernandez's impressive major-league debut was the win that slipped away.
Marlon Byrd grounded a two-run single just inside third base in the ninth inning, and the Mets rallied against Marlins closer Steve Cishek for a 4-3 victory Sunday, spoiling a strong first start by the prized prospect from Alonso High.
"I was more nervous watching (innings) five through nine than when I was pitching," Fernandez said.
Fernandez, 20, who had never been above Class A, gave up one run and three hits in five innings and set a Marlins record for strikeouts in a big-league debut.
"After the first pitch, I got that in, I was like, 'All right,' " he said. "I wasn't trying to think it was a big deal. I tried to do the best that I can."
Miami had a 3-1 lead when Fernandez came out. The Marlins outhit the Mets 13-6 but went 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position.
"We had so many opportunities," rookie manager Mike Redmond said. "It's a tough loss. Fernandez pitched great. He deserved to win the game."