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NYM@WSH: Ramos blasts another homer to left

WASHINGTON -- Wilson Ramos gave the Nationals a glimpse of what they hope to see in the future on Tuesday night.

The 23-year old catcher belted two homers and finished 3-for-4 with three RBIs, improving his early-season batting average to .378, but the Nationals couldn't find enough offense to complement Ramos as the Mets pulled out a 6-4 victory before 14,603 at Nationals Park.

Washington (10-12) acquired Ramos last season in the deal that sent Matt Capps to the Twins, and he's already battling Ivan Rodriguez for the starting spot. Ramos also is working regularly with Pudge to learn more about catching.

But it's Ramos' bat that really gave the Nationals a boost on this night. He blasted his first two homers of the season, both solo shots to deep left field off New York starter Chris Young, and he added an RBI single in the eighth.

"You hate to have a guy hit a couple of homers in a losing cause, but it was a real good night for him," said Nationals manager Jim Riggleman. "He's a good player. You're going to see more of that."

Riggleman said that Ramos and Rodriguez have formed a nice bond in the first part of this season, working on the intricacies of catching -- the veteran showing the kid how to do his job, which the youngster could very well take sooner rather than later.

"It's a nice thing to see, the relationship developing between those two guys," Riggleman said. "But [Ramos is] a special player in his own right."

Ramos said he's made some adjustments in the past few days that may have helped him in this game.

After possibly trying to pull the ball a little too much, Ramos just concentrated more on hitting it back through the middle. The strategy worked nicely.

"I was just waiting for my pitch," Ramos said. "He threw me a couple of pitches inside, and I hit the ball pretty good."

Ramos also called a good game to help starter Jordan Zimmermann (1-4). The right-hander gave up five runs on nine hits in 5 1/3 innings as the Mets kept getting the right hits at the right times.

The Mets (10-13) took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning, and then Ramos homered in the bottom half. Carlos Beltran's RBI double in the third pushed the Mets' lead to 3-1, before Washington tied it with solo homers from Ramos and Jayson Werth in the fourth.

But New York took the lead for good in the sixth inning when Josh Thole sliced a two-run double to left field off Doug Slaten, who was on in relief of Zimmermann. The ball just got past left fielder Michael Morse to give the Mets a 5-3 lead.

Thole also drove in a run on a second-inning groundout.

"For myself, just picking up the RBI in the [second] inning was a little bit of a confidence booster for myself," Thole said. "To be able to get the big hit and for [Mets manager Terry Collins] to stay with me was huge."

Ramos hit an RBI single in the eighth, but the Mets added an insurance run in the ninth on David Wright's groundout to make the final score 6-4. Still, Zimmermann gave the Nationals a good effort.

"I felt good all night," Zimmermann said. "That's probably the best I've felt. I gave up a lot of hits and got in some tight situations, but I thought I pitched pretty well."

The pitching may have been good, but Washington has struggled on offense in the early part of this season, and some of those problems showed up again.

The Nationals had some chances to score, but went just 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position. They left six on base -- including runners in scoring position in the fifth, seventh and ninth innings.

One reason for that was the strong effort Collins got from his bullpen. The manager pulled Young in the fifth, and his relief pitchers held the Nationals to just four hits in the final 4 1/3 innings. Ryota Igarashi (1-0) earned the victory after striking out Werth to finish the fifth.

Igarashi, Taylor Buchholz, Jason Isringhausen and Francisco Rodriguez combined to hold Washington down in the second half of the game. Rodriguez earned his fifth save with a scoreless ninth.

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