Cole Hamels on Thursday won just his third game of the season in an impressive outing against a surging Pirates team (see story).
Making the All-Star Game would "mean a lot" to Domonic Brown, but he's not worried about it. His goal? "Go out and play better" (see story).
Now, here's a look at some of Thursday's MLB action:
Ramos powers Nats past Brewers
WASHINGTON --The Washington Nationals' attempts to jump-start their season have so far been false starts. Perhaps, on the Fourth of July, the return of Wilson Ramos and an "epiphany" change in the batting order provided the final pieces that can sustain some momentum.
Back after missing 44 games with a strained left hamstring, Ramos hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in the seventh inning Thursday, leading the Nationals to an 8-5 matinee win over the Milwaukee Brewers.
"He's a statement player," shortstop Ian Desmond said. "And definitely somebody who's waiting for his turn in the spotlight."
Ramos put a 1-0 slider from Brandon Kintzler into the left-field stands and received a curtain call. He finished with three hits and a career-high five RBIs.
"I'm excited, happy for this day, for me, for my family, for my team," Ramos said. "They were waiting for me for my return, and I'm happy for this day, and hopefully I will help the team to win a lot of games."
The Nationals earned a split of the four-game series and moved back above .500 in their seesaw season. They've already had plenty of emotional wins this year that might have sparked a chase at the first-place Atlanta Braves in the NL East, but each time they've fallen flat within a few days (see full recap).
D'Backs outlast Mets in 15 innings
NEW YORK -- Cliff Pennington hit an RBI single with two outs in the 15th inning and the Arizona Diamondbacks, boosted early by Gerardo Parra's bunt double, finally outlasted the New York Mets 5-4 in a back-and-forth classic Thursday to split an exhausting series at Citi Field.
Arizona scored in the final three innings but couldn't close out the feisty Mets until Brad Ziegler retired Kirk Nieuwenhuis on an easy grounder with runners at second and third to end a game that lasted 5 hours, 46 minutes.
Anthony Recker and Nieuwenhuis hit tying homers in consecutive extra innings for New York, which dropped its final home appearance before hosting the All-Star game July 16.
In a span of four days, the teams played a 13-inning game, a 15-inning marathon and two others delayed by rain for a total of 3 hours (see full recap).
Red Sox rip Padres to cap 8-1 homestand
BOSTON -- Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run double, David Ortiz had a two-run single and the Boston Red Sox wrapped up a big homestand by beating San Diego 8-2 Thursday, sending the Padres to their season-high sixth straight loss.
Brandon Snyder and Jacoby Ellsbury each had solo homers for the Red Sox. Boston went 8-1 at Fenway Park to match its best homestand since June 2010.
The Red Sox also won for the 12th time in its last 14 games at home.
Allen Webster (1-2) pitched six innings for his first major league win, allowing two runs and five hits, while walking four and striking out two.
The Padres have scored just seven runs in their losing streak. They also lost for the 10th time in 12 games.
The Red Sox open a three-city, 10-game West Coast trip Friday night in Anaheim against the Angels (see full recap).