MIAMI – The ball kept falling the Royals' way during their nine-game winning streak, and that changed in the ninth inning Wednesday.
When Alcides Escobar pulled a liner toward the hole on the left side of the infield, shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria made a spectacular leaping, backhanded catch. The play short-circuited a comeback bid by the Royals, who lost to the Miami Marlins 3-0.
"That changed the game," Escobar said. "I hit that ball really good. When I saw it, I said, 'Oh! That's a great play.'"
Hechavarria's catch came after a leadoff single by Alex Gordon. Kansas City went on to load the bases against Fernando Rodney before he retired Christian Colon for his 25th save and eighth for Miami.
That ended the Royals' longest winning streak since June 2014.
Miami's Jose Fernandez pitched seven innings and shook off calf cramps. Fernandez (13-7) grimaced after retiring Colon with his ninth strikeout to end the seventh.
"I was cramping for the last five pitches," Fernandez said. "I was sweating and changed my uniform twice. Sweating, sweating. The last pitch, when I finished I felt the cramp and I was, 'Oooowwwww.' I came in and took some Gatorade, and I'm ready to go – fantastic."
Fernandez's nine strikeouts increased his season total to 213, breaking the Marlins record of 209 set by Ryan Dempster in 2000. Fernandez allowed six hits and won for the first time since July 23 to snap his three-game losing streak, a career worst.
Christian Yelich broke a scoreless tie in the sixth with a two-run single.
The Royals went 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position against Fernandez. They loaded the bases in the second, but Fernandez escaped by retiring Paulo Orlando and Colon. Their first two batters singled in the sixth, but Gordon struck out and Escobar bounced into a double play.
Orlando struck out in all four at-bats against Fernandez.
"He was just tough," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He had a really, really good slider and went to it when he got in trouble."
Dillon Gee (5-7) allowed only two of the first 18 batters to reach – and both times it was Fernandez. He had an infield single in the third and another single in the sixth.
"He can swing the bat a little bit," Gee said. "The second one might have been the hardest hit I gave up all night. I wasn't overpowering by any means, but I felt like I threw the ball fairly well."
The Royals' relievers extended their franchise-record scoreless streak to 34 2/3 innings.
"The bullpen's doing fine," Yost said. "They came in and did their job and held us right there."
TRAINER’S ROOM: Royals LHP Mike Minor, who has not pitched in the majors since 2014 after suffering a torn labrum in 2015, is being shut down for the year after struggling in several rehab starts.
UP NEXT: RHP Edinson Volquez (9-10, 5.04) is scheduled to face Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (9-8, 3.82) in the series finale. Volquez is 6-0 in seven career starts against Miami. Koehler is 3-0 over his past six starts with a 1.62 ERA.