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Fernandez, Cishek share NL Player of the Week honors

Fernandez, Cishek share NL Player of the Week honors

MIAMI -- Marlins starter Jose Fernandez and closer Steve Cishek were named the National League's Co-Players of the Week on Monday. Fernandez compiled two wins, a 2.40 ERA and 21 strikeouts in two starts, and Cishek earned five saves in five chances.

This marks the first time that either pitcher has won the award and the first time that Miami has had two players share the honor.

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"It feels good," Fernandez said. "It feels better because Steve Cishek is joining me there, so that's even better."

Fernandez likely cemented his honor by fanning 13 batters -- a franchise record for a rookie -- without a walk in eight dominant innings against the Pirates on Sunday, three days before his 21st birthday.

Only Gary Nolan (15 strikeouts in 1967), Dwight Gooden (two 16-strikeout games in 1984), Kerry Wood (20 strikeouts in 1998) and Fernandez have struck out 13 batters or more without a walk before turning 21.

"The energy that he brings to the ballpark, the enthusiasm. He's created that buzz at the stadium," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "We had a pretty good crowd [Sunday], and they were fired up when he was out there pitching.

"After all of the things that have happened, we need that. We need to create a buzz around our players, and I think people are getting excited about these young players and what they can do."

Cishek added: "Watching him pitch, he was outstanding. When you're watching him just dominate, it fires you up out there. When you're watching somebody punching everybody out, hitter after hitter, and he's on your side, you are just locked in and you're fired up."

The honor is yet another accolade for Fernandez, who is generating strong consideration for the NL Rookie of the Year Award. The All-Star leads rookie starters with a 2.71 ERA, a 1.045 WHIP, 124 strikeouts and a 3.2 WAR.

"This kid's special," Redmond said. "He gives us a chance every time he goes out there and makes a start. He deserves it. He earned it."

Cishek sealed the win on Fernandez's historic day with a scoreless ninth, converting his 17th consecutive save opportunity. He leads the Majors with 17 saves since June 8, besting his career-long streak of 10 set in 2012.

"It's been good -- busy is good," Cishek said. "I'm glad to be out there. Obviously, when I'm out there, it's a good sign. It means we're playing well, and the team is putting us in a situation to win, which is a good thing."

The closer has recorded a career-high 22 saves in 24 chances. Among pitchers with 20 or more saves, only Oakland's Grant Balfour and Pittsburgh's Jason Grilli have blown fewer than two.

"He's done a really good job this year," Fernandez said of Cishek. "He's just going to keep doing it. He works hard. He deserves it."

Fernandez, 20, and Cishek, 27, are two of the best arms on Miami's young pitching staff. Both rank in the top five among Marlins in WHIP, opponents' batting average, strikeouts per nine innings and strikeout-to-walk ratio.

The duo's efforts last week cap an impressive stretch for the Marlins pitching staff, which ranks third in the Majors with a 2.92 ERA since June 16.

"I think it's great, not just personally, but for all of us," Redmond said of the weekly honor. "We've played some pretty good baseball, and those guys have been a big part of it."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter Less

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