Both, of course, came true during tonight’s 6-1 victory at Citi Field. Murphy homered and drove in four runs to lead the Nationals’ offensive attack and give Scherzer some cushion to go after the New York lineup en route to his latest victory over his division rivals.
Murphy delivered an RBI single in the top of the third, then an RBI double in the top of the fifth, then a two-run homer in the seventh, raising his season total in 12 games against his former team to 19.
Scherzer, meanwhile, tossed seven innings of three-hit ball, allowing one unearned run to lower his ERA to 1.83 in 11 career games against the Mets (0.92 in three starts this season).
With back-to-back victories behind dominant performances from Stephen Strasburg and Scherzer, the Nationals have opened up a five-game lead over New York heading into Sunday’s first-half finale here.
Both Murphy and Scherzer have played significant roles in making that happen. Murphy has terrorized his former club since his first head-to-head encounter in April, recording at least one hit in all 12 games and homering six times.
His latest blast - a two-run shot deep to right-center off left-handed Antonio Bastardo - put this game out of reach and left the crowd of 36,953 either murmuring in disgust or outright booing a guy who helped carry them to the National League pennant last fall.
Scherzer got into some early trouble, victimized in part by Jayson Werth’s first-inning throwing error. But after allowing that early unearned run, the right-hander found his groove and got better as his night progressed. He finished with a flourish, convincing manager Dusty Baker to let him face one more batter in the bottom of the seventh, then retiring that batter on his 117th pitch of the game.