A little bickering in the clubhouse could be the spark the Florida Marlins needed to make a serious late push for a postseason berth.
Coming off a big victory to end an emotional day, the Marlins look for a second straight win over the visiting Atlanta Braves on Thursday night to salvage a split of the four-game set between the playoff contenders.
Wes Helms(notes) homered in the bottom of the ninth to give Florida (69-64) an 8-7 win over Atlanta on Wednesday, a few hours after Marlins stars Hanley Ramirez(notes) and Dan Uggla(notes) exchanged heated words in the clubhouse.
A frustrated Ramirez said Wednesday that he “got some people upset” for leaving early with a hamstring injury in the Marlins’ 4-3 loss to the Braves (70-63) on Tuesday. Uggla then openly argued with Ramirez, who leads the NL with a .355 batting average but could miss a second straight game Thursday while mired in an 0-for-14 slump.
“It’s September baseball,” Florida manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “Two teams fighting for the wild card and the division or whatever it is. The games are ticking away and emotions are going on. It’s good to see our guys respond.”
The incident might have given an emotional boost to Florida, which won Wednesday for the second time in seven contests and remained five games behind Colorado in the wild-card standings. The Marlins are one game behind the Braves, with whom they’ve split 14 meetings this season.
“I’m glad it happened,” said Uggla, adding Ramirez is like a brother. “I’m glad it’s over with. I’m glad we’ve moved on, and I think we’re stronger and closer because of it.”
Uggla hit a two-run homer Wednesday and Russ Gload finished a homer shy of the cycle for the Marlins.
Uggla is batting .245 overall, but is 6 for 13 with two homers and five RBIs in his last four games. The second baseman is batting .327 with three home runs and 12 RBIs against Atlanta this season, but is 0 for 3 versus scheduled starter Tommy Hanson(notes) (9-3, 3.15 ERA).
The rookie right-hander is coming off his first loss in a month. Pitching on his 23rd birthday Friday, he allowed one run and struck out four before a rain delay limited him to two innings in a 4-2 defeat at Philadelphia.
“That’s not how I wanted the night to work out,” said Hanson, who’s 4-1 with a 2.93 ERA since losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 31. “But what can you do? It rained.”
Hanson won his only previous outing against Florida, allowing three runs while striking out seven in seven innings of a 4-3 win over the Marlins on Aug. 22.
Adam LaRoche(notes) had three hits, Chipper Jones(notes) added a three-run double and Yunel Escobar(notes) tied the game with solo homer in the ninth Wednesday for the Braves, who fell to 3-3 entering the finale of their seven-game road trip.
LaRoche is batting .365 with 20 RBIs in 29 games since being traded to Atlanta from Boston on July 31. He’s hitting .354 with 10 RBIs against the Marlins this season.
Jones is batting .212 versus Florida in 2009, but he’s 10 for 20 with three doubles and four home runs against Ricky Nolasco(notes) (9-8, 5.30), scheduled to take the ball for the Marlins in the series finale.
The right-hander is 1-4 with a 5.29 ERA in nine starts against Atlanta, including a 4.76 ERA without receiving a decision in two outings this season.
Nolasco allowed three runs and struck out seven in 5 1-3 innings, but didn’t receive a decision in a 7-4 loss to San Diego on Friday.