MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Desmond, Ramos are key in Nats' playoff push

Desmond, Ramos are key in Nats' playoff push

WASHINGTON -- If the Nationals are going to win the National League East title, they need shortstop Ian Desmond and catcher Wilson Ramos to get hot with the bats.

Thursday was a step in the right direction as they were able to get key hits in an 8-3 victory over the D-Backs.

After being benched on Wednesday, Desmond, who was mired in a 5-for-35 slump (.143) before the game, went 2-for-4 including his 12th home run of the season.

Manager Matt Williams liked the way Desmond was seeing the ball in the game.

"The homer I think was a changeup, a first pitch changeup," Williams said. "That tells me he's seeing the baseball. And that's good. The next time he hit one off the wall to left as well. It's short, compact. He was calm today at the plate, which is important for him, and put the head on the ball. That's all he needs to do."

Ramos' two-run single

Ramos, who was also in a tailspin, didn't play the previous day, but went 2-for-5 and drove in two runs on Thursday. Those two runs came in the fifth inning off right-hander Jeremy Hellickson.

"That was a really big moment for me and the team," Ramos said. "I feel more confident at the plate. After I got that single, I felt excited because I'm waiting for that moment. It feels better right now. I feel happy right now because I helped my team. I'm working for that."

Ramos said it's important that he and Desmond get hot down the stretch.

"We can help the team a lot. That's good for us and the team. We just try and do the best [we can]. Hopefully, we can stay hot," Ramos said.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats and on his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.