Afternoon baseball is just the best. On Thursday, though, afternoon baseball was even more special than normal. See, two of the most exciting young starters in baseball, Miami’s Jose Fernandez and Tampa Bay’s Matt Moore, returned to the majors after enduring marathon returns from Tommy John surgery. MORE: The 10 worst starting pitchers on playoff contenders | Carlos Carrasco loses no-hit bid with two outs in the ninth inningAnd San Francisco veteran Matt Cain made his first big-league appearance since July 2014; he’s been out with all kinds of issues — elbow surgery to remove bone chips, surgery to remove a bone spur from his ankle, and thi
s year, a strained flexor tendon. Painful. Fernandez and Cain faced off against each other in Miami, in a cool twist. And in a "no way anyone could have predicted this" twist, Fernandez hit a fifth-inning home run off Cain. No, seriously. It's the second long ball of Fernandez's career. That home run cut San Francisco's lead to 3-2, and the Marlins scored three more runs — Justin Bour drilled a three-run homer — in the inning before Cain finally recorded the third out. That was the end of Cain's day; he threw 89 pitches (51 for strikes), struck out two, walked four and allowed seven hits.Fernandez lasted six innings. He gave up two runs in the first inning — though the signature moment of that frame was the 99 mph fastball that froze Matt Duffy for strike three — before settling down. He threw 89 pitches for the game (68 for strikes), struck out six, walked none and allowed seven hits. Moore squared off against the Indians and reigning AL Cy Young winner Corey Kluber, and he cruised along early.Rays lefty Matt Moore, making his first start of the season, has spun three no-hit innings against the Indians. Yeah, I said it.— Jordan Bastian (@astian) July 2, 2015Moore ran into trouble in the fifth, though. With two outs and a 2-1 lead, Moore gave up a single, walked a batter and then gave up three consecutive singles before manager Kevin Cash came out to remove him from the game, with the Indians up 4-2. For the game, Moore threw 81 pitches (53 for strikes), struck out four, allowed six hits and walked two. Of course, the actual results weren't that important. The goal for the game was to get through the first one healthy. Only a few other pitchers have come back from Tommy John surgery so far in 2015, though many more are on the way. Mets ace Matt Harvey, of course, is the most notable name, but because of the timing of his surgery, he had a few extra months during the offseason to prepare and made his first start in the Mets’ third game of the season. Harvey’s teammate, reliever Bobby Parnell, has been outstanding in his limited action. He made his 2015 debut — his first game since March 31, 2014 — on June 13, and he’s made seven more appearances since then. He’s yet to allow a run in 7 2/3 innings, and his five-out save in Toronto on June 16 is one of the signature moments of this Mets season. Another New Yorker, Ivan Nova, has made two starts since returning from Tommy John surgery. He’s been outstanding, and very much what the Yankees rotation has needed. In his two starts, he’s thrown 12 innings, struck out eight and has a 1.50 ERA. As for the other 2015 Tommy John returnees, Arizona’s Patrick Corbin could make his debut on Saturday. Kansas City’s Kris Medlen and Texas’ Martin Perez are rehabbing in the minors. The Dodgers’ Brandon Beachy is gave up one run in a rehab start at Triple-A on Wednesday.