Ramos' 2-run single gives Nationals 5-4 win over D-backs
WASHINGTON (AP) Wilson Ramos and his Washington teammates emerged from their offensive slumps a bit on Tuesday, and the Nationals earned a needed win.
Ramos blooped a two-run single to right with one out in the bottom of the eighth that helped Washington to a 5-4 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The catcher came up in a 3-all tie with one out and runners on second and third. He sliced a hit off David Hernandez (0-2) that scored Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth and ended Washington's four-game losing streak.
''I was trying to hit the ball in the air and try to bring one of those runners, get that single,'' Ramos said. ''It made me feel excited. It's a good day for me and now I can go back to sleep and try to have a good dream.''
Ramos broke an 0-for-17 skid with an RBI single in the ninth inning Monday night. In this game, he went 2 for 3 with the two RBIs.
Nationals manager Matt Williams said Ramos' discipline pays off, especially when he focuses on trying to hit the ball back through the box.
''He can get into hitters counts and get the head (of the bat) out, too,'' Williams said. ''But his success comes when he hits the ball back through the middle. That's why he's had good RBI numbers for the amount of at-bats that he's had.''
The victory helped Washington (55-50) remain one game behind the New York Mets in the National League East. New York (57-50) won its fifth straight on Tuesday.
Drew Storen (2-0) earned the win for Washington thanks to a perfect eighth.
Jonathan Papelbon posted his 19th save of the season and his second with the Nationals, despite allowing an unearned run in the ninth.
The Nationals scored just nine runs during their losing streak but needed just five batters in the first inning to take a 3-0 lead. Yunel Escobar homered to lead off and Zimmerman (single) and Werth (ground out) both drove in runs off Patrick Corbin to give Nationals starter Max Scherzer a quick lead.
Corbin lasted just 1 1/3 innings, giving up those three runs. Scherzer has been one of baseball's top pitchers this year but uncharacteristically could not hold that lead.
The Diamondbacks scored three in the fourth, tying it on a two-run double from Chris Owings, as Scherzer needed to throw 40 pitches in that frame and 114 overall in six innings.
''When your starter is only able to give you into the second inning, you're battling from the start of it,'' Arizona manager Chip Hale said. ''We made a nice rally against a really good pitcher to get the three (and tie it).''
The start of the game was delayed by 30 minutes due to concerns about storms in the area - although it rained little at the stadium, if at all.
Scherzer's fifth-inning strikeout of Paul Goldschmidt gave the right-hander 1,500 for his career. He's the first pitcher to reach that milestone in a Washington uniform.
Corbin was making his sixth start since returning from Tommy John surgery last year. The left-hander needed 36 pitches to get through the first, and Hale, wanting to be cautious, pulled him in the second. They almost didn't let him start the inning.
Diamondbacks: Manager Chip Hale said he's still not sure about the future of his starting rotation. RHP Chase Anderson (triceps inflammation) could be activated after only one rehab start, rookie RHP Zack Godley could remain with the team or both might be used in a six-man rotation.
Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (left oblique strain) was back in Washington before the game. Strasburg said although he felt fine after striking out 11 in 5 2/3 innings during a rehab start with Triple-A Syracuse Monday, there was still no timetable for his return. ''Stuff's there, so it's just trying to keep doing the same things and keep working at all the stuff I've been doing,'' he said. ''I'm going in the right direction.''
Arizona RHP Rubby De La Rosa (6-5, 4.59) will make just his second career start against the Nationals and LHP Gio Gonzalez (8-4, 3.75), who is 2-0 with a 2.84 ERA in four career starts against the Diamondbacks.