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Marlins Come Out Flat After Team Meeting

  Manager Edwin Rodriguez was all prepared to call a team meeting before Friday's game before Wes Helms intervened and said "allow us.' And so Helms and a few teammates orchestrated a players-only meeting to rally the troops and, well, they looked dead as a doornail in a 7-0 loss to Adam Wainwright and the St. Louis Cardinals.

   "We're flat, there's no way around it," said Dan Uggla, who went 0 for 4 as Wainwright delivered a two-hit shutout.

   The Marlins have lost five straight, their longest losing streak since May of last season.

   Coming off Thursday's upsetting loss to the Phillies, Helms decided it was time to huddle and re-group before it's too late.

"This is a crucial part of the year for us as a team," Helms said. "There's two ways you can go, either north or south, and we want to go north the rest of the year. We want to finish strong. This is hwere it's going to show the true character of our team, when we're in a rut like this, falling nine or 10 games back, to find out what we're made of. We're going to fall or quit, or keep pushing and working hard. We want to finish over .500. We want to make a good stand so we can build on next year if we're not going to make it."

Helms said fellow veterans Uggla, Cody Ross and Hanley Ramirez also stood up and spoke at the meeting.

  SANCHEZ, ROSS DEALING WITH INJURIES....Gaby Sanchez is nursing a tight right hamstring that put him on the bench Friday and could do the same on Saturday. Sanchez injured the muscle while stealing second base in Thursday's game. He said he's not sure when he'll be available. Ross has a stiff neck and is also day-to-day. Chad Tracy started at first for Sanchez while Emilio Bonifacio got the call in center for Ross.