Erasmo notches scoreless outing for 6th win

Righty adjusts, escapes base-loaded jams to complete six shutout innings

Erasmo notches scoreless outing for 6th win

ST. PETERSBURG -- After a painless first two innings on the mound in the Rays' 6-1 victory over the Nationals on Monday, something changed for Erasmo Ramirez.

Cast your Esurance All-Star ballot for #ASGWorthy players

The right-handed pitcher had recorded the first two outs in the third inning, but then he surrendered a double to Anthony Rendon and followed that by hitting Yunel Escobar and then walking Bryce Harper to load the bases.

On his next pitch, Ramirez delivered another ball to Wilson Ramos, prompting Rene Rivera to stand up and walk in front of the plate, shaking his head as he attempted to correct Ramirez's mechanical flaw.

"Rene just came to me and said, 'Hey, your arm is coming down. That's the reason you aren't hitting your spot right now, so keep it up,'" Ramirez said. "Those things when you are pitching, you try it and you see that you execute more and you have more command, you realize that that was the little help you needed, but in that moment you don't know what you are doing wrong."

Ramirez felt an immediate difference, forcing Ramos to ground out to shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and end the inning without allowing a runner to score.

"[Getting out of a bases-loaded jam] gives you a big confidence," Ramirez said. "It makes you think about when you execute the pitch and you show you are not afraid to throw a strike with the bases loaded, that gives the team a little more pressure to go and try to hit the ball."

That confidence showed as Ramirez got out of the fourth in 13 pitches, tiptoed out of another bases-loaded situation in the fifth and then retired the final three batters he faced in the sixth.

He was also helped by the fact that the Rays' offense scored six runs through the first five innings. In six starts where he has received two runs or more of support, Ramirez is 6-0 with a 1.62 ERA.

"When the offense scores that much, they give you a big breath, because now you just have to put the ball in play," Ramirez said. "Let the defense play and let's get out of the inning as quick as you can, because you know a little mistake can't turn around the game."

The scoreless six-inning performance gave Ramirez his sixth victory of the season, and each win has come in the past seven starts. Over that span, he has a 2.92 ERA

"You don't control what is going to happen, but I'm happy for real to get those wins and get the chance to go out there and show what I got," Ramirez said. "I'm just happy for what's happening right now, and I've just got to keep doing what I'm doing."

Troy Provost-Heron is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.