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Murphy, Scherzer continue to torment Mets in 2016

Murphy, Scherzer continue to torment Mets in 2016

After Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson went off for 41 points - including a playoff record 11 threes - at the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 6 of the 2016 Western Conference Finals, Max Scherzer - a Warriors fan - took to his Twitter account to shout his elation in capital letters, noting how Thompson rose to the occasion in one of the most important games of his career:

"Klay Thompson just showed the world how BIG TIME PLAYERS play in BIG TIME GAMES!"

The message spoke to his admiration not only for Thompson's abilities, but for the opportunity he seized as a professional athlete. Scherzer himself will admit that some of his own games mean more than others, depending on the time of season, opponent or circumstances in the standings.

The stakes of a Major League Baseball game on June 29th do not quite compare to those of a do-or-die NBA playoff tilt, but on Wednesday night Scherzer once again stepped up against the rival New York Mets, the reigning champions in the NL East. The Nats ace went 7 1/3 shutout innings with just two hits allowed and 10 strikeouts in Washington's 4-2, sweep-securing win.

Scherzer now has a 1.66 ERA in six starts against the Mets since he signed with the Nationals before the 2015 season. In his last three matchups with them, he's allowed just two earned runs across 22 1/3 innings.

Scherzer wasn't the only big time player to show up in a big time game on Wednesday. Add Daniel Murphy to the category, as the Nats second baseman clubbed two homers, his 13th and 14th of the season. Since joining the Nats, he is 15-for-35 (.429) with four homers and 11 RBI against his former team.

Manager Dusty Baker is pleased to see two of his most important players raise their games against the Mets.

"It’s everything. You want them to step up against everybody, but especially against your rivals, guys you’re chasing or guys that are chasing you," Baker explained. 

"This was big… Every game’s a two-game game when you’re playing a team that’s chasing you or you’re chasing them."

Getting Murphy to publicly admit pleasure in hammering his former team has so far proven to be an impossible task. He doesn't like talking about himself and he definitely does not like talking about his former team.

Scherzer, though, will speak on his behalf.

"It's just obvious that he wants to beat 'em up. It's obvious," Scherzer said. "Everybody wants to. When you face you're former team, you obviously wanna get the best of them. For him to come out here and really slug against them, it puts a smile on all of our faces because we know what he's going through."

Murphy will not put extra weight on games against the Mets, but will detail the importance of sweeping an NL East foe.

"You like playing well against division opponents. Those games, they just count extra. You've got one team, when they win they move in one direction, the other teams moves in the other one," Murphy said.

A lot can change from the end of June until the end of the regular season and the Nationals know that well. In 2015, they were 6-3 through their first nine games against the Mets, just as they are this season. They lost their next six matchups and the division along the way.

There will be many more opportunities this season for players on either side to step up and make a dramatic difference in the season series. So far in 2016, however, it's been Scherzer and Murphy who have stood out among all.

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Turner, Adams power Nats over Giants to end 4-game skid

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Turner, Adams power Nats over Giants to end 4-game skid

SAN FRANCISCO -- Trea Turner got five hits, Matt Adams homered and drove in six runs, and the Washington Nationals broke out of their offensive funk in a big way, routing the San Francisco Giants 15-2 Wednesday to end a four-game losing streak.

The Nationals had totaled just eight runs during their skid. Andrew Stevenson had two doubles, two singles and four RBIs as Washington set season highs for runs and hits (18).

Manager Dave Martinez's ballclub has been stunted by a rash of injuries this season but salvaged the final game of the three-game series at AT&T Park series to end a rough 4-5 road trip. Max Scherzer (5-1) did his part, striking out 10 in six innings.

Turner came into the game batting .232, and the leadoff man's slow start had contributed to the Nationals' struggles. He raised his batting average 35 points, tying a career high for hits in a game. He also scored twice, drove in two runs and stole his 10th base this season.

Adams matched his career best for RBIs. He singled as part of a three-run first, put the Nationals up 6-1 with a three-run homer off Jeff Samardzija (1-1) in the fourth and added a two-run single in the eighth.

The Nationals scored 14 of their 15 runs with two outs.

Scherzer earned his fourth consecutive win, all of them coming after a Washington loss. He allowed two runs and five hits, and reached double figures in strikeouts for the fourth time in six starts this season.

Brandon Belt and Pablo Sandoval each two hits apiece for the Giants.

Samardzija labored through a 30-pitch first inning and was done after retiring 11 batters. He gave up six runs on eight hits with three walks.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: 1B Ryan Zimmerman and 2B Howie Kendrick were given the day off.

Giants: Mac Williamson was a late scratch because of neck stiffness, one day after stumbling over the bullpen pitching mound and crashing into a low fence while chasing a foul ball. ... RHP Chris Stratton was placed on the paternity list. ... RHP Roberto Gomez was called up from Triple-A Sacramento.

UP NEXT

Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (2-2, 2.97 ERA) pitches against the Diamondbacks on Friday in Washington. He has yielded six earned runs and three homers over his last 13 innings.

Giants: LHP Derek Holland (0-3, 4.98) faces the Los Angeles Dodgers in the opener of a four-game series at AT&T Park on Friday night. Holland is winless in two career starts against the Dodgers.

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Williamson homers again, Giants top Nationals 4-3

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Williamson homers again, Giants top Nationals 4-3

SAN FRANCISCO -- Mac Williamson had to dust himself off after crashing into a low padded wall near the stands in left field while chasing a foul ball.

More frustrated than hurt, Williamson took it out on Nationals pitcher Tanner Roark a few moments later after undergoing a series of concussion tests in the dugout.

Williamson homered for the second straight night and third in five games, hitting a tiebreaking shot in the sixth inning to lead San Francisco to a 4-3 victory over Washington on Tuesday night.

"I got pretty lucky," Williamson said. "I felt fine then and I feel fine now. I'm sure once the adrenalin wears off later tonight, tomorrow we'll see how the body feels. I'm sure I'll be a little sore."

Brandon Belt hit his fifth home run in six games, Joe Panik added three hits and scored twice, and the Giants won their third straight and fourth in the last five.

One night after hitting a 464-foot homer in the series opener, Williamson hit a first-pitch solo shot to center off Roark with two outs in the sixth inning that bounced off the top of the wall and broke a 3-all tie. It wasn't as far as Monday's clout -- this one went 423 feet -- but was just as pivotal for the Giants.

"We've talked about what a shot in the arm he's been and he's more than that," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He came through again tonight. Good for him because he's worked hard at it."

Williamson's deciding home run came one inning after he stumbled over the bullpen mound in foul territory and crashed into a low wall near the stands while trying to chase down Bryce Harper's foul ball. Williamson stayed down briefly as team trainers rushed out before getting to his feet.

"I tried to roll my neck a little bit and my head down a little bit when I started going down," Williamson said. "I think that helped break my fall. I was just a little frustrated I didn't come up with the play. I had it in my glove and it came out."

Belt hit a two-run shot off Roark (1-2) in the third.

Michael Taylor had a three-run homer for Washington, which has lost four straight and 14 of 20 since opening the season 4-0.

"It seems like that sixth inning's been biting us in the rear as of late," Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. "We're swinging the bats. We just can't get the big hit with people on base."

Reyes Moronta (1-0) retired six batters for his first career win. Sam Dyson pitched one inning and Hunter Strickland worked the ninth for his fifth save.

The Giants got a run off Roark in the first but left the bases loaded when Evan Longoria struck out looking to end the inning. Belt homered on a 3-2 pitch from Roark in the second to make it 3-0.

Washington tied it on Taylor's three-run homer off starter Ty Blach in the third. Ryan Zimmerman walked and Moises Sierra singled before Taylor's deep drive into the right-field stands.

Roark went into the game 6-0 in seven career games against San Francisco but couldn't find a rhythm this time. He allowed four runs on six hits, walked two and hit a batter and threw a pair of wild pitches.

WHERE DID IT GO?

Panik hit a soft comebacker to Roark in the fifth that glanced off the pitcher's glove then bounced up on the top of his cap before falling to the turf. Roark initially couldn't locate the ball but found it in time to throw to first for the out.

AILING BLACH

Blach allowed three runs and four hits in five innings. After the game, Bochy said the left-hander suffered from food poisoning last week and was given an IV on Monday. "That was a really gutty effort that he gave us," Bochy said.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: Placed RHP Shawn Kelley on the 10-disabled list with ulnar nerve irritation in his right elbow. Infielder/outfielder Matt Reynolds was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse and outfielder Rafael Bautista and infielder Adrian Sanchez were called up.

UP NEXT

Nationals RHP Max Scherzer (4-1, 1.36 ERA) and Giants RHP Jeff Samardzija (1-0, 0.00) take to the mound for the series finale at AT&T Park on Wednesday. Samardzija is making his second start after beginning the season on the disabled list.