Hanley Ramirez ends dispute with apology, leads Marlins to win

ST LOUIS (Reuters) - Hanley Ramirez apologized to his Florida Marlins team mates before returning to the line-up on Wednesday and playing a key role in a 5-1 victory over the St Louis Cardinals.

One day after lashing out at Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez for benching him for two games for a lack of effort during a loss on Monday, Ramirez recorded three hits to provide a happy ending to an eventful few days.

"It was not my intention to create a distraction," the 2009 National League batting champion told reporters after a closed-door meeting and apology to his manager and team mates.

"I feel bad that things got to this point; the team and the fans don't deserve it. I'm going to try to end this matter and focus on playing baseball."

The controversy began when the shortstop made an error on a fly ball and inadvertently kicked it into the outfield, casually pursuing it as two runs scored in Florida's 5-1 defeat to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday.

Gonzalez benched the All-Star for the incident leading to Ramirez's criticism of the manager a day later, claiming that he had never played in the Major Leagues and would not understand.

"We talked and that's that," Gonzalez said. "We're just going to go out and play baseball, have some fun and win some ballgames."

(Reporting by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien)