Updated: 8/27/10 6:41 a.m.
NEW YORK (AP/WFAN) — Hanley Ramirez doesn’t even try to explain why he hits so well against the New York Mets, though the guys in the opposing clubhouse no doubt would like to hear an answer.
It might have something to do with his spot in the lineup, at least this week.
Back in his familiar No. 3 role again, Ramirez belted a two-run homer and finished with three hits to cap another spectacular series against the rival Mets, while Logan Morrison made sure to get on base in front of him at every chance in an 11-4 romp Thursday night.
Ramirez went 10 for 15 in the series, driving in three runs and scoring six times.
“You’ve got to get more concentrated when there’s a runner on,” said Ramirez, who spent 25 games batting leadoff this season before returning to the No. 3 spot. “And Logan, he’s on fire right now. This is what we need.”
Morrison capped a memorable week in New York with a two-run double during the Marlins’ seven-run sixth inning. He also threw out a runner at third base while playing a solid left field.
The rookie not only celebrated his 23rd birthday this week, his father Tom was able to see him play in person for the first time in the majors. The elder Morrison was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer in April and has spent much of the summer in the hospital. He was finally well enough this week to take a 29-hour train ride from his home in Louisiana to see the series.
“Anytime he’s here it kicks it up a bit, just to see him,” Morrison said, showing off a pair of goatskin boots his father gave him for his birthday. “Just a little extra.”
Mets slugger David Wright hit a two-run homer in the first, on the heels of a solo shot in the ninth inning Wednesday night. Just like Ramirez, Wright seems to savor every meeting between these teams — he has five home runs and 14 RBIs against Florida, with eight straight multihit games.
He was just about the only bright spot for New York, though, which saw shortstop Jose Reyes leave in the second inning with a right oblique strain — the same injury he had earlier this year.
“It’s not that painful right now,” Reyes said, “so hopefully by tomorrow it’ll be OK.”
New York jumped to a 4-0 lead and had plenty of opportunities to put Florida away, drawing a leadoff walk in six straight innings beginning with the second. But the Mets stranded 12 runners, hit into double plays in the second and fourth, and left the bases loaded in the third.
Anibal Sanchez (11-8) earned the win, despite allowing four runs over five sloppy innings.
“We had chances to really put the game away,” Wright said, “and we didn’t do it, so you have to give Sanchez some credit. He didn’t have his best stuff, but he hung around and got the win.”
Jonathon Niese (8-6) matched his career high with eight strikeouts, but otherwise had a pitching line to forget. He was knocked out of the game after retiring two batters in the sixth and wound up allowing more runs (seven) than hits (five). He also walked three and hit a batter with a pitch.
Niese got some support early from Wright’s homer and RBIs from Angel Pagan and Jeff Francoeur each of the next two innings, but the left-hander promptly gave away half of his lead when Ramirez connected for a two-run shot in the fourth.
The real damage by the Marlins came two innings later.
Morrison was hit by a pitch leading off the sixth, Ramirez singled and Dan Uggla followed with an RBI single down the left-field line. Gaby Sanchez walked to load the bases moments later and Wes Helms hit a drive to the warning track in right-center that Francoeur somehow managed to catch just shy of the wall. The deep sacrifice fly still allowed Ramirez to tie the game.
Francoeur must have been exhausted from his long run, because he couldn’t track down a blooper by Brett Hayes that bounced into the stands for a ground-rule double, pushing the Marlins ahead and Niese toward the clubhouse. Elmer Dessens gave up run-scoring singles to Donnie Murphy and Cameron Maybin before Morrison’s two-run double made it 9-4.
“At the beginning, I felt like I could control where I put the ball,” Niese said. “In the sixth inning, I lost command of my fastball.”
The half-inning took 22 minutes, and by the time the Mets headed off the field, the crowd of 28,640 at Citi Field was voicing its displeasure. The Marlins added two more runs in the ninth.
“We couldn’t stop the bleeding,” Wright said.
NOTES: Marlins RHP Ricky Nolasco (torn meniscus in right knee) felt fine after fielding drills and plans to start Saturday night in Atlanta. Nolasco skipped his turn Sunday. … Reyes snapped an 0-for-11 skid with a single before leaving the game in the second. He is day to day.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)