Ramos' homer sends Nats to sweep of Giants
WASHINGTON -- Off the bat, Wilson Ramos thought he caught all of his sixth-inning solo home run. After seeing a replay of the shot -- his eighth of the year -- the Nationals catcher realized the ball barely found the right-center-field seats. Either way, the home run proved the difference in Washington's 3-1 win over San Francisco on Sunday, which completed a three-game sweep of the World Series champions.
"Next time I hit it," Ramos said, "I need to hit it harder and run a little bit more hard."
Three runs of support were plenty for Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann, who allowed a home run to Brandon Crawford in the fourth inning but nothing else, tossing seven innings and striking out eight.
"[Zimmermann] was really good," Nationals manager Matt Williams said. "He gave up that homer to Crawford on the 3-0 pitch, but other than that, he was in the strike zone, got through seven, pitched really well. And again, he was just competitive out there."
Ryan Vogelsong started for the Giants and allowed one run over four-plus innings. He was ejected in the fifth inning along with manager Bruce Bochy after unhappiness with home-plate umpire Phil Cuzzi's strike zone reached a boiling point.
The Giants scored 17 runs during an 0-6 trip that left them 42-41 overall.
"Somehow we have to get the mojo going with the offense," Bochy said.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
More Zimmermann: The home run was the first and only run Zimmermann has allowed in his last 22 2/3 innings, which spans three starts. Over his last four starts, the 29-year-old right-hander has allowed four runs and two walks while striking out 25. His ERA is down to 3.04 for the year.
"[I've] been having a really good curveball and fastball command is there," Zimmermann said. "Tonight was one of those nights, I didn't have many first-pitch strikes and I fell behind for the most part. I was able to get some big outs when I needed to and, like I said, the curveball has probably been my best pitch the past three or four starts."
He's only human: Giants reliever George Kontos has been virtually untouchable through most of the season. He had allowed just one earned run in his previous 18 appearances and opponents were batting .190 off him overall. But the right-hander proved fallible in the sixth inning when Ramos homered off him to break a 1-1 tie.
Vamos Ramos: Ramos' home run may have been the deciding factor in Sunday night's contest, but the catcher had a hand in all three of the Nationals' runs. He scored the first run in the second inning on Michael Taylor's single and provided some insurance in the eighth, plating Bryce Harper with a one-out single up the middle.
"That's vintage Wilson tonight," Williams said. "Man on third, line drive back through the middle. He's got the ability to do that, and that's why he hits in the middle of the order. He's an RBI guy, a run producer.
"He provides offense. Tonight was a homer, but to me, the most impressive was the RBI single. That will allow him to be productive for us, to be that four-, five-, six-[hole] guy for us that has opportunity."
Early celebration: Crawford accounted for the Giants' scoring with his 12th home run, which briefly tied the score, 1-1, in the fourth inning. The smart money says Crawford will be named to the National League All-Star team Monday as a reserve. If so, he would be the first Giants shortstop to make it to the Midsummer Classic since Rich Aurilia in 2001.
"I did well. Especially this day. My daughter [turned] 11 months today, so all I did today, that's for her. That made me feel really happy today." -- Ramos
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The win improved the Nationals to 25-14 at home this season. They've won nine consecutive games at Nationals Park courtesy of three straight sweeps, and their 46-36 record is a season-high 10 games above .500.
Giants: San Francisco will approach the All-Star break with a six-game homestand that opens with Monday's 7:15 p.m. PT encounter against the New York Mets. Chris Heston, who no-hit the Mets on June 9, will confront them again. Right-hander Jon Niese will oppose Heston.
Nationals: On Monday, the Nationals begin their final series at Nationals Park before the All-Star break. Doug Fister will pitch the series opener for the Nationals, and the Reds will throw Anthony DeSclafani. Fister is 3-4 with a 4.34 ERA this season.
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