December 5, 2020

Washington Nationals Spring Training: Wilson Ramos contributes in Nats’ walk-off win over St. Louis

The Washington Nationals topped the St. Louis Cardinals Sunday afternoon for the second day in a row, this time with a 7-6 walk-off win fueled by a double off the bat of the newly returned Wilson Ramos.

Ramos received a warm applause from the Space Coast Stadium crowd as he stepped into the batter’s box for the first time since tearing his ACL and meniscus last May. His first at-bat yielded little for Washington, but the long-missing catcher nearly belted a walk-off homer over the center-field wall in his second trip to the plate.

Those in attendance saw a lot of back-and-forth hitting from both teams as neither Washington nor St. Louis seemed ready to settle into a pitching groove.

The Cardinals’ Shane Robinson and Adron Chambers hit back-to-back singles to start things off in the first, but Ross Detwiler struck out the next three batters to get out of the jam.

In the bottom of the inning, Denard Span led off with a walk issued by Jaime Garcia, and scored on a Jayson Werth single to center, but the next three batters failed to get on base to extend the damage.

At the top of the second, Tony Cruz scored for the Cardinals on a Justin Christian double-play ball, but Detwiler struck out Ronny Cedeno to finish his last stint before the World Baseball Classic. In two innings, Detwiler threw 31 of 51 pitches for strikes, allowed four hits and one earned run and struck out four.

The Cardinals wasted no time breaking the tie against Craig Stammen. Robinson led off the third with a solo shot to left field to put the Cardinals on top, 2-1.

The Nats played small-ball in the bottom of the inning to earn back the run. Werth and Bryce Harper each singled and set up Ryan Zimmerman for the tying RBI in his 2013 debut.

The Nats tacked on another run in the fourth off a Kurt Suzuki double and a Steve Lombardozzi single to follow, but it was last year’s clutch hitter off the bench, Chad Tracy, who helped the Nats inch further ahead in the sixth inning.

With Jhonatan Solano on base, Tracy hit a two-run bomb off a hanging curve to put the Nats up 5-2.

Unfortunately, however, today was not the day for left-handed relief pitching.

Brandon Mann took the mound for the Nationals in the seventh inning and walked the first batter he saw – Ronny Cedeno – on four pitches. Cedeno advanced to third on a James Ramsey single, and scored on McElroy’s single to center, all with no outs.

Kolten Wong struck out swining, but Ramsey scored on a grounder by Wigginton before J.R. Towles batted in McElroy.

When all was said and done, Mann gave up three runs on three hits and one walk in just one inning of play, allowing the Cardinals to tie the Nats, 5-5.

The Cardinals notched an additional run in the eighth, but Chad Tracy doubled for the Nats and later scored on a Carlos Rivero single to keep everyone tied, 6-6.

Ryan Mattheus came on to pitch a 1-2-3 ninth complete with two called strikeouts against Towles and Rob Johnson to set up a potential walk-off for the Nats.

Ramos made the most of his chance second at-bat by rocketing a double to center. Sandy Leon entered to run for Ramos and Zach Walters provided the game-winning RBI with a single to right to score Leon.

In addition to Ramos’s return, the Nationals can celebrate the fact that Zimmerman went 1-for-3 with an RBI in his first spring training game since undergoing shoulder surgery. The Nationals will enjoy a day off Monday and will face the Houston Astros at home at 1:05 p.m. Tuesday.

About Alyssa Wolice

Alyssa Wolice is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Nationals and Wizards. As a former production assistant, she covered the Nationals, Redskins, Capitals, Wizards, D.C. United and local collegiate teams. You can follow Alyssa on Twitter @awolice.

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