Relishing new role, amped-up Ramos gets save

Relishing new role, amped-up Ramos gets save

NEW YORK -- As the music blared and crowd noise rose at Citi Field, so did A.J. Ramos' adrenaline level. Seizing the moment, the Marlins' right-hander was able to lock down his toughest save chance since he took over the closer's role a couple of weeks ago.

Ramos retired Wilmer Flores on a slow roller to first, stranding Daniel Murphy at second base and securing the Marlins' 4-3 win over the Mets.

"The thing we all love about A.J., and it's a running joke here, [but] he's got ice water in his veins," Marlins manager Dan Jennings said. "He doesn't panic and he's on the attack. That's great, because you're not going to put him in an uncomfortable situation with traffic on or not. He's going to continue to come at you."

The Marlins are looking for a big boost from their bullpen, which has blown nine saves so far this season, the second most in the Majors.

Sam Dyson worked a clean eighth inning against the Mets, and Ramos wiggled out of trouble in the ninth, although he gave up one run on two hits.

Ruben Tejada singled to open the inning, and he moved to second on a wild pitch. The Marlins nearly challenged to see if catcher J.T. Realmuto threw him out, but replays showed Tejada's right hand touched the base before Adeiny Hechavarria applied the tag.

One out later, Murphy blooped an RBI double to left. On the play, Hechavarria's left shoulder absorbed left fielder Christian Yelich's knee. Both were shaken up, but stayed in the game.

Ramos struck out Michael Cuddyer and retired Flores on the slow roller, making him 3-for-3 in save opportunities since being named closer.

"The music they were playing, the crowd level, it kind of made me even more hyped," Ramos said. "I feed off that stuff. I was able to make those pitches."

Ramos credits all the tough spots he's been in as a setup reliever for preparing him for the ninth.

"I'd come in with two on and no outs," he said. "I'd come in with bases loaded and no outs. Being in those situations kind of prepared me to close out a game. Nothing changes. It's just the last three outs of the game. That's how I approach it. If I approach it as, 'Oh my, I've got to close the game out,' it might speed up on me and I won't be able to make the pitches. So I treat it like any other inning that I've pitched in, and try to execute the pitches any way I can."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.