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Ramos' playoff debut doesn't go as planned

Nats catcher has costly passed ball, doesn't come through at the plate in key spots

WASHINGTON -- Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos was injured when his club broke into the postseason in 2012, so Friday's Game 1 of the National League Division Series served as his playoff debut. It was one the 27-year-old likely won't remember too fondly.

After a solid season both offensively and defensively, not much went right for Ramos in the Nats' 3-2 loss to the Giants. A costly mistake behind the plate and a couple of empty at-bats in key situations combined to put a damper on the day. For good measure, Ramos even took a painful Pablo Sandoval foul tip off his left shoulder and neck, though he shook it off to stay in the game.

"Everybody in the clubhouse right now feels the same," Ramos said. "It's just one game. We lost the first one, but tomorrow's another day. We have to keep fighting. We can't put our heads down. It's baseball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Tomorrow's another day. We have to play hard and try to tie the series."

The trouble began in the third inning, when San Francisco had runners on first and second with one out. A Stephen Strasburg heater tailed violently to Ramos' left, and the catcher couldn't get his glove over in time to snag it. The passed ball moved both runners into scoring position, and Travis Ishikawa came around to score the game's first run.

"I was waiting for a fastball in, and the pitch went outside, so I missed the ball," Ramos said.

Ramos, who threw out a career-best 38 percent of basestealers this season, caught one of two Friday. But the runner he didn't nab, Hunter Pence, quickly scored the Giants' second run in the fourth inning when Brandon Belt singled.

At the plate, Ramos drew a walk in the first inning, but in the fifth, he erased the Nationals' first hit by grounding into a double play. In the seventh, Ramos worked a solid at-bat against hard-throwing righty Hunter Strickland after Bryce Harper got the Nats on the board with a homer. After fouling off three straight fastballs, Ramos looked for a breaking ball on the ninth pitch of the at-bat. He got a 98-mph heater instead, and umpire Laz Diaz called him out.

"I didn't see the video yet, but I think it was right on the corner," Ramos said. "I asked the umpire. He said that it was a close pitch."

Andrew Simon is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB.
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