Buckner Loses in D'Backs Debut

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

MIAMI -- The Hanley Ramirez situation didn't seem to bother his teammates too much.

Brian Barden drove in two runs while replacing the benched Ramirez, helping ace Josh Johnson and the Florida Marlins beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 8-0 on Tuesday.

Ramirez, a two-time All-Star shortstop and the reigning NL batting champion, sat a day after being pulled by manager Fredi Gonzalez for failing to hustle. Ramirez, who said he wasn't loafing, sniped at his manager and teammates and said there was no reason to apologize in pregame remarks.

His teammates including Dan Uggla, a two-time All-Star himself, supported Gonzalez.

"I think Skip needed to do what he needed to do, which was take Hanley out of the game at that time," Uggla said. "Does that mean we love Hanley any less? No, we have all made mistakes. We've all done things like, 'Oh, maybe I shouldn't have done that.' But you move on, you move forward, you get past it."

Minus their highest-paid player, the Marlins did fine.

Johnson (4-1) pitched two-hit ball for seven innings, Cameron Maybin and Uggla had back-to-back home runs and Barden neatly filled in.

"Twenty-five men, everybody plays, everybody contributes," Gonzalez said.

Ramirez was yanked in the third Monday night, an inning after he accidentally kicked a ball and lightly jogged after it. Earlier in the game, he fouled a ball off his left shin and was examined by a trainer.

Before this game, Ramirez said of Gonzalez: "That's OK. He doesn't understand that. He never played in the big leagues." Responded Gonzalez: "He's right, but I know how to play the game."

Ramirez also added, "We got a lot of people dogging it after ground balls."

Ramirez was on the field for batting practice but didn't play. He did not comment after the game.

The verbal battle did not distract the Marlins, who won for the seventh time in the last nine games.

"It was a team effort and it's all about picking each other up and having each other's back," Maybin said. "I think we did a great job of that, not letting any of the outside stuff affect us."

Johnson improved to 3-1 with a 1.00 ERA lifetime against Arizona. He struck out nine and walked two.

"He's probably the best unheralded pitcher in our league," Diamondbacks manager A.J. Hinch said. "He doesn't get a lot of attention down here in Florida, but he's pretty good. He's got a lot of weapons and knows how to pitch."

Billy Buckner (0-1) made his season debut after being called up from Triple-A Reno. The 26-year-old righty, who is not related to the former big leaguer of the same name, was effective early before running into trouble in the fourth.

Buckner hit Gaby Sanchez with a pitch and walked Brett Hayes with two outs to load the bases. Buckner then hit Barden with a pitch, too, giving the Marlins a 1-0 lead.

The Marlins added another run in the fifth on doubles by Uggla and Jorge Cantu off the left-field wall in nearly in the same location.

"I got it in on them, but I left it up just enough where they could get under it," Buckner said.

Barden hit an RBI single off recently acquired Saul Rivera in the sixth. Three batters later, Maybin launched a three-run homer to deep left-center field. Uggla followed with his 10th home run for a 7-0 lead.

"That's not the way I wanted to start in that situation, but hopefully tomorrow I'll have another chance and it will be better," said Rivera, acquired a day earlier from the Cleveland Indians for cash.

Brian Sanches and Clay Hensley pitched the final two innings for the Marlins, who recorded their first shutout since April 18 when they blanked the Philadelphia Phillies 2-0.


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