NEW YORK - Daniel Murphy has done damage against just about everybody he’s faced this season, but he has saved some of his best work for his former employer. And he’s doing it again tonight.
Murphy has driven in one of the Nationals’ three early runs off right-hander Logan Verrett, lacing a one-out single up the middle to give his team a 3-1 lead over the Mets.
It was Murphy’s 16th RBI in 12 games this season against the same New York club that drafted and developed him, the same one he helped carry to the National League pennant last fall before signing a modest $37.5 million deal with the Nationals over the winter.
The crowd at Citi Field, which has been booing Murphy every time he steps to the plate, had more boos for the second baseman when he sent a single up the middle off Verrett in the top of the third, scoring Ben Revere from third.
Revere had just driven in a run himself with a triple down the right field line that scored Max Scherzer from first base. Clint Robinson, starting his third straight game at first base in place of the injured Ryan Zimmerman, drove in the Nationals’ first run with a second-inning sacrifice fly.
Scherzer got into trouble early, walking leadoff man Jose Reyes and then surrendering a single to Curtis Granderson in the bottom of the first. Jayson Werth’s throwing error allowed both runners to move up and put Reyes in position to score on Neil Walker’s sacrifice fly.
But Scherzer has settled in since then, posting zeroes in the second, third and fourth innings while trying to keep his pitch count manageable. He’s at 69 total pitches through four frames.
Update: It’s now 4-1 Nats after five, and you’ll never guess who’s responsible for that. Yep, a certain former Mets second baseman. He drove a double to deep center field in the top of the fifth, scoring Werth from first. So that’s now 17 RBIs for Murphy in 11-plus games this season against the Mets. He also has at least one hit in each game against his old team. Scherzer, meanwhile, has found his groove. He’s through five innings of one-run ball on 85 pitches.
Update II: So, it’s now 6-1 Nats after seven, and you’ll never guess who’s responsible for that. Yep, again. Murphy clobbered a two-run homer off Antonio Bastardo in the top of the seventh. He’s 3-for-4 with four RBIs tonight, and he now has six homers and 19 RBIs in 11-plus games against the Mets this season. Unbelievable.
Update III: Nats win. Final: 6-1. They’ve increased their lead in the division to five games heading into tomorrow’s first half finale.