Madison Bumgarner, who was looking snap a four-start winless streak, over which he was (0-2) with a 3.81 ERA and a .274/.310/.453 line against in 26 IP, threw a complete game, two-hitter on Sunday afternoon in the nation’s capital.
Unfortunately, for the 27-year-old San Francisco Giants’ left-hander, one of the two hits he allowed left the yard and the Giants’ hitters came up empty on the offensive end.
It was still scoreless after Tanner Roark completed his seventh scoreless frame on the mound, but Nationals’ catcher Wilson Ramos hit an 0-1 pitch out to right that cleared the out-of-town scoreboard and put Washington up 1-0 in the bottom of the seventh of the finale of the three-game set in D.C.
It was home run No. 18 of 2016 for Ramos, who sets a new career-high with each one he hits out at this point.
In five games in August, the Nationals’ soon-to-turn 29-year-old backstop is 10 for 19 (.526/.524/1.053) with at least one hit in all five, multi-hit games in three of the five and at least one hit in 19 of his last 23.
After he went 1 for 2 with the home run and a walk in the game against the Giants on Sunday, he’s hit a double and three home runs in his last 21 plate appearances.
On the year, Ramos is third in the majors among all hitters with his .338 AVG, behind only teammate Daniel Murphy (.350) and the Houston Astros’ Jose Altuve (.356).
It’s his ability to hit for average this season, as much as his power, that’s impressed manager Dusty Baker.
“His confidence-level is high,” Baker said, “it’s real high, and he can reach the fences in any part of the ballpark, but he remains within himself and does not try to hit home runs all the time. He is a hitter first, which is evident by his .330+ batting average, with power, and this is how you like guys to think, hitting first and then the power second.”
It’s a lesson Baker said he had to learn during his own playing days. He had help.
“I remember when I was in that same boat and I was a little confused and I got a letter from Joe Black, that told me, he wrote me a letter, he told me, ‘Just remember, Dusty, that you’re a hitter and not a slugger.’ And that got my career back on track.”
It’s a message, Baker said, that Ramos seems to have received, “... which is evident by him hitting the ball up the middle, then you hit one to right field, line drive and then next thing you know he’ll pop one over the fence.
“I love it when he does, cause he has one of the premier home run trots in baseball.”