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Wilson Ramos' first pitch provides special moment for Nats

Wilson Ramos' first pitch provides special moment for Nats

Despite Hurricane Matthew wreaking his havoc far away from Washington, the super storm still affected the Nationals' series opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers in that it prevented former Nats pitcher Livan Hernandez from flying in to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. 

The Nationals, with little time to spare, had to go a different route, they had to choose a new person to bestow the honor of kicking off the third playoff run in team history. They ended up settling on a guy who played a pretty large role in them getting to the postseason in the first place.

Despite tearing his ACL in the final week of the season, All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos suited up in his full uniform on Friday and participated in pregame introductions, then tossed a pitch to fellow catcher and Venezuelan Jose Lobaton. While he limped on to the field to make the pitch, the crowd of 43,915 roared and chanted his name 'Wilson, Wilson' to the tune of his famous walk-up song.

"It was great. We had not seen him in a couple days and all of a sudden he showed up," manager Dusty Baker said. "We're all happy to see him and the fans are happy to see him."

[RELATED: Wilson Ramos to have surgery soon, hopes to be back with Nationals]

Ramos has a long recovery ahead of him and one that could lead to his departure from the Nationals. That could have been his final embrace with the fans in Washington as a member of the team. Free agency is looming and he himself has acknowledged his days as a primary catcher in the NL may be over.

Decisions of that sort are months away, though. For now, Baker wants Ramos around as much as possible.

"He brought a lot of life to the dugout and a lot of life to the stadium. There's a lot of love in the stadium going around for Wilson. So I'm hoping that he comes back tomorrow," he said.

Here is a video of the special moment with Ramos:

[RELATED: Nats blow big opportunity by letting Kershaw off the hook]

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Nationals beat Houston for the ninth straight time

Nationals beat Houston for the ninth straight time

HOUSTON -- Matt Wieters hit a two-run homer, Howie Kendrick had a two-run triple and the Washington Nationals beat Houston for the ninth straight time, 4-3 Tuesday night in a matchup of division leaders.

Washington's winning streak over the Astros dates to 2012. The Nationals have won 13 of 14 against Houston since 2011.

Kendrick's triple tied it in the third before the Astros went back on top with an RBI single by Josh Reddick in the bottom half. Anthony Rendon doubled with two outs in the fourth before the homer by Wieters, which landed just to the right of straightaway center field, gave the NL East leaders a 4-3 lead.

Tanner Roark (10-8) allowed six hits and two earned runs in 5 2-3 innings and Sean Doolittle pitched a perfect ninth for his 15th save.

Charlie Morton (10-6) gave up four runs in six innings for the AL West-leading Astros.

The Astros threatened in the eighth against Brandon Kintzler when Josh Reddick and Yuli Gurriel hit consecutive singles and the Nationals intentionally walked Carlos Beltran with one out to load the bases. But Max Stassi grounded into a double play to leave Houston trailing.

George Springer led off the Houston first with a single, stole second and scored on a two-out single by Reddick.

Beltran doubled off the wall in left-center field in the second and scored on a single by Derek Fisher.

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Why Nationals' Max Scherzer picked college over pros — at first

Why Nationals' Max Scherzer picked college over pros — at first

When Max Scherzer was a teenager, he didn't know that one day he'd actually become a two-time Cy Young Award winner. He had no guarantee he'd make it to the majors, much less play in five consecutive MLB All-Star games. 

All he knew was that he had the option to go pro as a kid or go to college, and back then, the Nationals' ace needed a contingency plan in case baseball didn't work out. Fortunately for Scherzer, it did, but he doesn't regret going to college at the University of Missouri, telling Santana Moss on CSN's "Route 89" going to school was a no-brainer.

"It was actually a really easy decision," Scherzer told Moss. "When you get drafted out of high school, you're going to be going into the minor leagues, and that can take three to five or six years — multiple years — in the minor leagues, and you're forfeiting your right to further your education."

Scherzer was drafted in the 43rd round by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2003, but he opted to play for Mizzou for three years, which turned out to be a great decision. The Arizona Diamondbacks then drafted him in 2006 in the first round as the 11th overall pick. 

"A lot of times when you sign out of high school, you don't make it to the major leagues," Scherzer continued. "So I realize that your education — that's your safety net.

"You need to further your education in college, and if you do get drafted out of college, you're in a much better position to try to chase your dreams because if it doesn't work out, you still have one year left of school and that's much easier to obtain rather than try to go through four years when you're not coming out of high school."

MORE NATIONALS: Stephen Strasburg returns to the mound