Heliot's on fire: Ramos drives in all three runs in win

June 9th, 2024

ARLINGTON -- The breakout is looking more real by the day.

Ramos continued his monster start to the year by homering and driving in each of the Giants’ runs in a 3-1 win that secured a series victory over the reigning World Series champion Rangers on Saturday afternoon at Globe Life Field.

The 24-year-old outfielder opened the scoring with an RBI double off left-hander Andrew Heaney in the first inning and then put the Giants ahead, 3-1, with a two-run blast out to left field in the third. It was Ramos’ fourth home run in his last six games, boosting his batting average to .327 with a .973 OPS over 101 at-bats in 2024. He’s now 9-for-17 (.529) with seven RBIs through the first five games of his road trip and has reached base safely in 26 of his 28 games this year.

“It’s been pretty good, honestly,” Ramos said. “I’m just trusting my plan. The confidence happens whenever you make things happen. I’m just trying to trust it every day and trust that the plan that I’m taking to the plate is going to work.”

Ramos’ hot bat supported a solid effort from former Ranger Spencer Howard, who allowed only one run over 4 2/3 innings in his first start of the season for the Giants. San Francisco’s bullpen delivered lights-out relief from there, with Erik Miller, Ryan Walker, Tyler Rogers and Camilo Doval combining to toss 4 1/3 scoreless innings to help the Giants (32-33) win their third game in a row.

Ramos has primarily been used as a corner outfielder in the Majors, but the 2017 first-round Draft pick is getting a look in center field now that Luis Matos is back at Triple-A Sacramento. Ramos made his second straight start there on Saturday and looked comfortable in the middle of the outfield, ranging back to snag a line drive off the bat of Josh Smith in the bottom of the eighth.

“The ball was hit, I wasn’t sure if it was going to be caught, and he caught it rather easily,” manager Bob Melvin said. “That shows you what a little confidence can do.”

Ramos hasn’t played center field regularly since 2021, but he feels he’ll be able to reacclimate quickly since he got plenty of reps at the spot at the beginning of his Minor League career.

“I like it,” Ramos said. “Coming up in the Minor Leagues, I played a lot of center field. That’s all I played. I haven’t played since 2021. Sometimes moving around and all that stuff can be a little tough, but I’m getting used to it.”

Ramos struggled to establish himself over his first two seasons with the Giants, but he’s finally looking like he’s here to stay after stepping into the outfield mix and helping to make up for the loss of Korean star Jung Hoo Lee, who underwent season-ending left shoulder surgery on Tuesday.

If he continues to provide this type of impact on both sides of the ball, he could bolster his case as a dark horse All-Star candidate, as he currently leads all NL outfielders with at least 100 plate appearances in OPS this season.

Ramos’ emergence isn’t entirely surprising to Rangers manager Bruce Bochy, who was at the helm of the Giants when the Puerto Rico native first visited Oracle Park as a recently drafted 17-year-old in 2017.

“He’s been swinging the bat well,” Bochy said. “I saw this kid come up through the Minors with the time I spent out there when I retired. He’s a talented kid. The power, the arm. He runs well. He’s a gifted athlete.”