Heliot Ramos and Austin Slater lead Giants’ latest win at the top of the lineup – NBC Sports Bay Area and California

ARLINGTON — When Heliot Ramos showed up at Oracle Park a few months after the Giants picked him 19th overall in the 2017 MLB Draft, he went through the usual routine. He met with the media, took on-field photos with then-general manager Bobby Evans and other team executives, and toured the facilities. Ramos then sat in the dugout for some time with Bruce Bochy, and the two smiled as they talked about the young player’s future.

When Ramos looks back on that Saturday afternoon, he notices how much has changed. He had a good build for a 17-year-old, but was still skinnier than he is today. There was no beard, or even a shred of facial hair. Bushy wore the orange and black, has since retired, came back and won another title.

As Bochy’s Texas Rangers prepared for their old team to come to Globe Life Field this weekend, much of their focus was on Ramos. He is now the Giants’ most dangerous hitter.

“He was swinging the bat really well,” Bochy said before the series. “I’ve seen this kid come out through the palace with the time I spent there when I retired and [was] Watch men. He’s a talented kid, he’s got strength, he’s got an arm, he’s got a good run. He’s a good athlete. We have to try to get him out.”

The Rangers haven’t been able to do that much over 18 innings, although to be fair to them, the New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks and plenty of others over the past month have had the same problem.

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Ramos had two more hits on Saturday, both of which were huge. A looping RBI double in the first gave the Giants the lead and a two-run homer in the third inning was the difference in a 3-1 victory, the third in a row after a six-game losing streak.

“What do you say about Ramos?” manager Bob Melvin wondered aloud postgame. “He plays with great confidence.”

Ramos said that was easy. He trusts his plan at the plate, and more often than not, that results in tough contact or walks. He was confident when he returned to the major leagues. Batting .327 with six homers over the past month only added additional layers.

“Confidence happens when you get things done,” he said.

Ramos has now driven in 23 runs in 28 games and raised his OPS to .973, which ranks second in the National League among players with more than 100 plate appearances. Production has come in different forms as well. After giving him a chance to pitch in the final days, Melvin moved Ramos to second so that Austin Slater could bat first against a lefty.

This has been Slater’s regular spot in those fights in recent years, but it wasn’t an automatic decision given his early struggles. Slater made his manager look smart, scoring twice on Ramos’ extra time strikes. Melvin was particularly pleased with Slater’s ability to rebound from an 0-2 count and walk while leading the game. This is the type of plate look that managers love even when it doesn’t result in a run.

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Melvin spoke before Saturday’s game about his desire to find more stability at the top of his lineup. It will be a tall order if Slater can recapture his old form against lefties, and the team’s longest-tenured player said he appreciates Melvin giving him the shot on Saturday given his overall numbers this season.

“It’s a lot of confidence,” Slater said.

This is generally what you get from more experienced managers like Melvin and Pucci. Before Saturday’s game, Bochy spent most of his time talking about his belief in the Rangers’ underperformance in Adulys Garcia and Jonah Heim. He is confident that better days lie ahead.

Melvin was recently rewarded for his patience with Wilmer Flores. He’s hoping Slater is the next player, and perhaps the team’s new quarterback can help with that. Slater said his goal Saturday was simply to get into Ramos’ base.

“If it keeps going like this, I think I’ll get more fastballs,” he said with a smile. “I’m fine with that.”

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