Ramos' big game propels Nats to series win over Mets
Catcher drives in four, Desmond homers to back Zimmermann's effort
WASHINGTON -- Wilson Ramos' bat came back to life on Sunday afternoon as he knocked in four runs and helped the Nationals defeat the Mets, 6-3, at Nationals Park.
Entering Sunday's rubber game, Ramos was hitting .154 with two RBIs. On Saturday night, manager Matt Williams thought about giving Ramos the day off Sunday. But Ramos talked the skipper into letting him play. Although he was hitless in Saturday's 5-2 loss to New York, Ramos thought the swing was coming along. Besides, Ramos felt that if he played in consecutive games, he would be more consistent at the plate.
Ramos had a similar experience with then-manager Davey Johnson last year. He was splitting time with Kurt Suzuki, but when Ramos was given the full-time job after the All-Star left, he was the most productive hitter on the Nationals.
"When I came off the DL last year, I talked to Davey and I said I need a couple of games in a row. I want to play. When I play every other day, it's hard. You feel hot that day and then you get a day off, you feel bad," Ramos said. "[Saturday], I was feeling good. I hit the ball well. I talked to Matt and said I want to play today. Every time I want to play [consecutive games], I feel better and better. That was the reason to put me in the lineup today."
Ramos had come off the disabled list a little more than a week ago because of a broken hamate bone in his left wrist and finally found his stroke against Mets right-hander Zack Wheeler.
The score was tied at 1 when Ramos came to the plate in the third and hit a 1-1 pitch to the left-center-field gap for a double, scoring Anthony Rendon and Jayson Werth to make it a 3-1 game.
Two innings later, Ramos came through again in the clutch, this time with the bases loaded. On an 0-1 pitch, Ramos singled to left field, scoring Jordan Zimmermann and Denard Span to make it a four-run game.
"[Ramos] just did a good job. I came back and looked at the video and they were in, on the corner. He just did a nice job of hitting. He got me today," Wheeler said.
Ramos often seems to find a way to be productive with runners on base. Entering Sunday, Ramos was 11-for-31 (.355) with a homer and 25 RBIs in those situations.
"I feel like I concentrate, wait for my pitch and make good contract. That's what I'm looking for," Ramos said. "I'm not looking to hit a home run -- nothing like that. Every time I look for that, I hit ground balls to short, ground balls to second. I just concentrate on making good contact and see what happens."
After Sunday's game, Williams said Ramos is close to finding his swing.
"He told us the last couple of days that he felt good," Williams said. "His legs feel good and his swing is getting close. Today, he hit a slider for a double. Fastball down the line for a two-run single. It was good."
Zimmermann won his third game, allowing three runs on eight hits in six innings. In the second, he allowed an RBI single to Juan Centeno to give New York a 1-0 lead.
After Washington took the four-run lead, with one of the runs coming on a blast by Ian Desmond, the Mets made it interesting in the sixth. Williams said Zimmermann was running out of gas. David Wright scored on a single by Juan Lagares, while Curtis Granderson scored on a single by Centeno, who was thrown out trying to advance to second base.
The Nationals scored the game's final run in the eighth, when Kevin Frandsen hit into a force play, scoring Ramos.
After Zimmermann left, right-handers Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano blanked New York the rest of the way, with Soriano picking up his 10th save.
The late-inning relievers have been unhittable of late, posting ERAs under 2.00 this season.
"We feel very confident," Clippard said. "We are just in that mode right now of just get us the lead and we'll do our thing. I think that is certainly the case right now."