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What we learned as Ramos stays hot, powers Giants' win vs. Rangers

What we learned as Ramos stays hot, powers Giants' win vs. Rangers originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

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ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers were supposed to be the ones counting on gifted young hitters during this series.

In Evan Carter and Wyatt Langford, they entered the 2024 MLB season with two of the best prospects in the game, and they pushed both of them through the minor leagues at an incredibly fast pace. Carter now is on the IL with a back injury and Langford's own bumps and bruises have contributed to a very slow start, but for a second straight day, a budding star might have been on display at Globe Life Field.

Heliot Ramos drove in three early runs and once again hit a no-doubter into the seats, leading the Giants to a 3-1 win. Ramos is showing no signs of slowing, and with two more hits Saturday, he has four multi-hit games on a six-game trip that concludes Sunday.

The Giants' pitching did the rest, with Spencer Howard throwing well in his first start and the bullpen dominating over 4 1/3 innings. The Rangers can't lean on their best young prospects and are without shortstop Corey Seager because of hamstring tightness, and the Giants have held them to three runs over 18 innings.

Camilo Doval made the visiting dugout sweat in the bottom of the ninth, putting two in scoring position. But after Leody Tavares hit a line drive that was inches foul, Doval got a fly ball to right to end the game.

Hottest Hitter Alive

Ramos smoked a 106-mph double into the gap in his first at-bat, bringing Austin Slater around from first for the game's first run. That gave him a hit in 20 of 28 games since he was recalled, and he was just getting started.

Two innings later, lefty Andrew Heaney hung a curveball and Ramos lined it into the seats in left, this time at 109 mph. The blast was his third of the trip and fourth in six games. After hitting one homer in 34 appearances the previous two seasons, Ramos has six since May 19.

Ramos finished the day hitting .327 with a .973 OPS. Among players with at least 100 plate appearances, he ranks sixth in OPS, and second in the National League to Atlanta's Marcell Ozuna.

Back in Texas

Howard spent parts of three seasons with the Rangers, posting an 8.37 ERA over 21 appearances, 16 of which were starts. In his return to Globe Life Field, Howard was charged with one run on three hits in 4 2/3 innings. He was an out away from his first win since 2002, but with a runner on first in the bottom of the fifth, Bob Melvin turned to lefty Erik Miller as left-handed hitter Josh Smith walked to the plate. Miller got out of it with a strikeout.

The start was Howard's first with the Giants after two bulk innings appearances out of the bullpen. It probably won't be his last. Blake Snell will miss at least another week and likely more. The staff wanted to reward Howard after good work out of the bullpen, although it's possible that Miller still slides in there as an opener at times when the other lineup has lefties at the top.

Going Streaking

With a single in the sixth, Matt Chapman extended his on-base streak to 25 games. It's the second-longest streak of his career, trailing only a 30-game run he had with the Oakland Athletics in 2018.

Chapman and St. Louis Cardinals slugger Paul Goldschmidt have the longest active streaks in the National League. It's the longest streak by a Giant since Eduardo Nuñez reached base in 33 straight games in 2017.

Chapman was batting .222 with a .266 on-base percentage at the start of May. With this stretch, he's up to .240 and .318, numbers more in line with his previous three seasons.

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