Miami (71-64) at Washington (46-89)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Washington, DC
Temp: 64° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Sat Sep 5, 2009
  • TV: SUN, MASN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

A vocal clubhouse incident may have brought out the best in the Florida Marlins.

The visiting Marlins try for a fourth straight victory as they continue their weekend series with Washington Nationals on Saturday night.

Catcher John Baker(notes) homered and matched a career-high with four RBIs, while Hanley Ramirez(notes) drove in two runs in Florida’s 9-6 victory in Friday’s series opener.

The Marlins (71-64), four games behind NL wild-card leader Colorado, have not lost since second baseman Dan Uggla(notes) openly argued with Ramirez over the All-Star shortstop’s perceived lack of commitment prior to Wednesday’s 8-7 win over Atlanta.

Ramirez, who leads the NL with a .358 batting average, left Tuesday’s loss to Atlanta with a hamstring injury, but delivered a pinch-hit RBI single in an 8-3 win over the Braves on Thursday. He had two hits Friday for the Marlins, who snapped a three-game losing streak against the Nationals (46-89).

“We get on each other, and I think it builds camaraderie,” Marlins outfielder Cody Ross(notes) said. “We all love each other and support each other. Hopefully, maybe it lights a little fire under us and we can get on a roll.”

Baker is 10 for 22 with seven RBIs in his last six games, and rookie Chris Coghlan(notes) is batting .440 during a 12-game hitting streak for Florida, which is averaging 8.3 runs during the winning streak.

“It’s good when everybody’s swinging the bat well at once. That’s when we win games,” Baker said. “We haven’t really ridden any one player besides Hanley for the whole season.”

Florida’s Josh Johnson(notes) (13-4, 3.08 ERA) looks to remain perfect against the Nationals while trying to bounce back from a loss as he takes the ball in this contest.

The right-hander, who allowed three runs and struck out eight in 6 2-3 innings of a 5-2 loss to Atlanta on Monday, is 4-0 with a 3.83 ERA in eight starts against Washington—including 1-0 with a 4.30 ERA in four this season.

“Johnson is one of the top guys in baseball,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said. “You have to put him in the top five anyway, for me, in all of baseball and that’s with some really good ones. He’s that good. The kid is that good.”

The Nationals counter with former Marlins’ World Series hero Livan Hernandez(notes) (7-9, 5.26) in this contest.

Hernandez is 0-1 with a 3.21 ERA in two starts since the Nationals signed him after he was released by the New York Mets on Aug. 23. The 34-year-old right-hander allowed three runs in eight innings and took the loss in a 3-1 defeat at San Diego on Monday.

Hernandez, the 1997 World Series MVP for the Marlins, is 13-7 with a 3.41 ERA in 27 starts against Florida.

Adam Dunn(notes) had three hits and Josh Willingham(notes) hit his 22nd homer Friday for Washington, which was officially eliminated from postseason contention after matching a season high with its seventh straight loss.

Dunn is batting .341 with 12 RBIs this season against the Marlins, who are 10-3 against the Nationals in 2009. The slugger, however, is 2 for 11 with five strikeouts against Johnson.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Johnson SD vs. L. Hernandez Mil
15-5 Record 9-12
3.23 ERA 5.44
191 K 102
58 BB 67
1.16 WHIP 1.56

Scoreboard

Saturday, Sep 5