Jack McKeon didn't win his first series in his return as Marlins manager.
But after three days, he may have already gotten his toughest assignment completed -- getting Hanley Ramirez to turn his attitude around and play with passion.
Two days after being benched for showing up late to a team meeting and getting chastised by Logan Morrison for it, the three-time All-Star shortstop and former batting champion played arguably his best game of the season Wednesday.
He went 2-for-5 with two, two-out RBI singles and two great plays with his glove. And even though a bad bounce produced the game-winning RBI single that scooted just past Ramirez's glove, there was a sense of victory in the Marlins clubhouse after the 10-inning 6-5 loss to the Angels.
And it's all because Ramirez, the franchise player, is displaying the attitude the team has been looking for.
"I'm very, very happy with my three days here," McKeon said. "I know we're 1-2. But I think we're on the right path. We're going to cause a little havoc the rest of the way. We've got two or three hitting now. Now, we've got to try to get a couple more just to put the ball in play.
"If you were in the dugout tonight even when we got down 5-4, the guys were figuring out we're going to tie this thing. We're going to win this thing.
McKeon said Ramirez was a big part of that.
"We probably saw his best game of the year, maybe the last couple years," he said. "Hanley was fired up. All excited to play, happy, coming over talking to me about different things. Just a smile on his face. It's the new confidence he has. And he's happy. Maybe he likes hitting fourth, he certainly has been delivering in that situation. Maybe we found the right spot for him."
A couple of his teammates said they were happy to see Ramirez show some fight.
"He played real well," said Burke Badenhop, who suffered the loss. "That catch on the tarp there was huge. You can tell when he's really locked in and he good ABs today. That was good to see. He was pretty pumped like we need him to be."
Said Brian Sanches: "It's definitely good for our team. It's no secret we need him to win. We all know he's capable of doing it. Hopefully this gets it rolling."
Ramirez said he wants to stay positive and keep the momentum going now as the team heads off for Seattle, the first of nine road games against the AL West.
"We're playing good," he said. "It's hard when you're not playing good and your team is losing. Everyday it's hard to go out there and be happy. But when your playing the right way, you got good things going it's a lot of smiles -- not just me. All those guys."