MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Catching on: Ramos heeds advice, goes 4-for-4

Nats' backstop is perfect at plate after going hitless in last 9 at-bats

Catching on: Ramos heeds advice, goes 4-for-4

WASHINGTON -- Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos took the advice of his hitting coaches, and it paid off as Ramos went 4-for-4 in a 6-4 victory over the Braves at Nationals Park on Monday night.

Prior to Monday's game, Ramos acknowledged that he was frustrated after going hitless in his previous nine at-bats. In most of those at-bats, Ramos either struck out or grounded out. But before Monday's game, hitting coach Rick Schu and assistant hitting coach Jacque Jones looked at tape of Ramos' at-bats during Spring Training. When he was hitting the ball well in Florida, Ramos was standing taller in the batter's box. It put him in a better position to backspin the baseball, according to Schu.

"He needed to stand a little taller. It kind of freed him up," Schu said. "He has been having some good swings, but hitting groundballs. He is in better position to backspin the baseball."

As it turned out, Ramos was perfect at the plate. After getting two singles in his first two at-bats, Ramos drove in the go-ahead run in the fifth inning, when he reached on an infield single off Braves right-hander Bud Norris to plate Ryan Zimmerman.

Two innings later, Ramos gave Washington an insurance run when he singled to right field off Alexi Ogando to send Zimmerman home.

"I try to stay up the middle all the time. That's when I hit the ball well. I'm not trying to pull the ball," Ramos said. "I did it today. I tried to hit the ball hard. That's what happens when I stay like that."

Ramos also did the job defensively, throwing out speedy Braves outfielder Mallex Smith who was trying to steal second base in the fourth. It marked the second game in a row Ramos was able to throw out a base stealer. On Sunday, Ramos threw out Marlins infielder Dee Gordon in the sixth inning.

"I worked on [throwing to the bases]," Ramos said. "When you are working, you can do a lot of things."

Even though Ramos had a great game, manager Dusty Baker announced that Ramos will sit on the bench Tuesday in favor of Jose Lobaton, who is Gio Gonzalez's personal catcher.

"I tell you, he hit the ball well tonight," Baker said about Ramos. "It's going to be difficult, but I already told [Ramos] that he's not playing tomorrow. I'm playing Lobaton, he's catching Gio tomorrow."

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. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.