WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Sunday, the Nationals won the most unlikely of games, a 1-0 victory over the Giants despite the fact Madison Bumgarner tossed a two-hit complete game.
Bumgarner could end up with this year's NL Cy Young award and on Sunday he had one of his best outings of the 2016 season.
Yet, with mostly airtight defense and some timely hitting, the Nats were able to escape with a win.
Timely hitting, well, more like one timely hit, as the only real strike the Nats got off Bumgarner was a solo homer by Wilson Ramos in the bottom of the seventh inning. He took an 87 mile per hour slider over the fence in right-center field for his 18th homer of the season. Ramos now has three home runs in his last four games.
"I was calm at the plate. I know Bumgarner has very good pitches," Ramos explained in Spanish. "He did a great job and I focused on waiting on a pitch. He threw me the pitch I was waiting on and I was able to connect on it very well. I didn’t think the ball was going to carry that much because I connected well, but I didn’t think the ball was going to go. Thank God the ball went out and we were able to take the lead."
Ramos now has 10 hits and eight RBI in his last five games. His batting average has soared to .338, which is second in the NL to only his teammate Daniel Murphy, who dropped to .350 in the win.
Ramos made the All-Star team this season and continues to make a significant impact for the first-place Nats. Through six games in August, Ramos has a 1.577 OPS.
"Big Ramos... His confidence level is high, it's real high," manager Dusty Baker said. "He can reach the fences at any part of the ballpark, but he remains within himself and not trying to hit home runs all the time. He is a hitter first, which is evident by his .330-plus batting average, with power. This is how you like guys to think: hitting first, then power."
Ramos agreed with Baker. His confidence level is at an all-time high right now.
"What he said is true. I have a lot of confidence at the moment and I feel very comfortable at home swinging at pitches in the zone. Pitches out of the zone I’m taking. And I feel very comfortable with confidence and I think everything is going well because of that."
As Baker said, he loves Ramos' approach of "hitting first, then power." Seeing him leave the yard, though, is always a positive and not just because it helps the Nats on the scoreboard.
"I love it when he does because he has one of the premier home-run trots in baseball," Baker said.
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