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Did Hanley Ramirez "Kick" Start the Marlins Defensively?


   Don't look now, but the Marlins are riding a 41-inning errorless streak that goes back to -- you guessed it -- Hanley Ramirez's now-infamous kicking error on Monday. As everyone knows by now, Ramirez landed in all sorts of hot water because of that play. But virtually lost in the ensuing furor has been the Marlins' exceptional defensive play ever since.

   Let's face it. The Marlins aren't going to win any Gold Gloves. They're the majors' worst team defensively based on fielding percentage. But, magically it seems, they've been looking pretty darned good in the field. They're making the routine plays along with the highlight reel variety; case in point Friday's game against the White Sox when Chris Coghlan, Wes Helms and Ramirez came up with a few dandies.

   "We've put a lot of work into it," Ramirez said of fielding. "And I think everybody is slowing down a little bit."

   Bench coach Carlos Tosca agreed that quite a few of the Marlins' defensive miscues have resulted from rushing throws or making poor decisions.

   "A couple of our issues have been we don't make the right decisions, or we try to make plays that aren't there, and they're twins," Tosca said. "They're trying to do too much. But overall, I think we're doing a little better."

  LINEUPS:

  Marlins:  1. Chris Coghlan, lf; 2. Gaby Sanchez, 1b; 3. Hanley Ramirez, ss; 4. Jorge Cantu, dh; 5. Dan Uggla, 2b; 6. Cody Ross, rf; 7. Wes Helms, 3b; 8. Brett Hayes, c; 9. Cameron Maybin, cf. (Pitching: Chris Volstad)

  White Sox: 1. Juan Pierre, lf; 2. Alexei Ramirez, ss; 3. Alex Rios, cf; 4. Paul Konerko, dh; 5. Mark Kotsay, 1b; 6. Carlos Quentin, rf; 7. Mark Teahen, 3b; 8. Ramon Castro, c; 9. Gordon Beckham, 2b. (Pitching: Gavin Floyd).

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