ARLINGTON, Texas Jack McKeon's reign as Marlins interim manager is just 11 games old, but his best move to this point may have been moving shortstop Hanley Ramirez to the cleanup spot in the batting order.
Ramirez had been in a season-long slump, but his cold bat has come alive since the move, and was on fire Saturday, as Ramirez had two home runs and five RBI to lead the Marlins to a 9-5 win over Texas at Rangers Ballpark.
"The last five games we have been playing as a team together," Ramirez said. "We just have to continue what we have been doing out there."
The five RBI matched a career high for Ramirez, and it was his first multi-home run game since May 2 of last season. It was Ramirez's fifth career grand slam and first since June 29 last season.
Ramirez, who was hitting .200 with four home runs and 17 RBI in the 55 games before the lineup change, is hitting .385 in the 10 games since then, with three home runs and 12 RBI.
"It was nice to see 13 hits on the board. The guys swung the bats pretty good," McKeon said.
The Marlins jumped on the Rangers early, with Ramirez hitting a grand slam with no outs in the first inning, and they had a 5-0 lead before Texas had its first turn at the plate.
Rangers starter Derek Holland didn't make it out of the first, getting pulled with two outs after throwing 46 pitches for the shortest outing of his career and first time a Ranger pitcher had not made it through the first inning other than for a injury or ejection since 2007.
The Marlins added a run in the second for a 6-0 lead, but the Rangers were able to cut the lead to 7-5 after six innings before Ramirez and Logan Morrison hit back-to-back home runs in the seventh to give the Marlins a cushion that would hold up. It was Morrison's 11th home run of the season.
McKeon was not happy about the walks given up by starter Brad Hand and Steve Cishek, who relieved Hand when McKeon pulled him after Hand walked two of the first three Rangers he faced in the fourth inning.
Hand was making his fourth career start and had been called up Saturday from Double-A Jacksonville.
"You think I am going to sit there and say, 'We are developing him?' I am not here to develop, I am here to win," McKeon said.
Cishek got an earful after from McKeon after he walked the leadoff batter in the fifth and then gave up a home run to Josh Hamilton.
"He got into me pretty good," Cishek said about McKeon. "He was pretty intense. That fired me up, that is for sure."
Cishek settled down and ended up getting the win, his first in the majors.