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Trea Turner homers as Nationals top New York Mets, 9-4


Trea Turner homers as Nationals top New York Mets, 9-4

VIERA, Fla. (AP) -- Facing his former team for the first time, Daniel Murphy walked and scored on Anthony Rendon's two-run single in a four-run first inning against Rafael Montero in the Washington Nationals' 9-4 win over the New York Mets on Thursday.

After homering in a record six straight postseason games and helping the Mets reach the World Series for the first time since 2000, Murphy left as a free agent and signed a $37.5 million, three-year contract with the Nationals.

Resting their top young starters during the first time through their spring training rotation, the Mets began the exhibition season with Montero, who also allowed Bryce Harper's RBI single.

Murphy grounded into a double play in the second against Gabriel Ynoa.

"I was really excited to see those guys," Murphy said. "It's pretty much been (since) the World Series that I've seen any of them. "I've been able to text a lot of coaches and players over there, but at this point, once you start firing the games up, the eye is toward the regular season."

Washington ace Max Scherzer, who no-hit the Mets in his final start last season, allowed one hit and struck out one over two innings. Scherzer also pitched a no-hitter against Pittsburgh last year.

Prior to the game, Murphy exchanged a greeting with Mets manager Terry Collins. The two have had a strong relationship since Collins served as New York's minor league field coordinator in 2010.

While Murphy wouldn't say he will be extra motivated when facing the Mets 19 times during the regular season, Collins didn't have a doubt.

"There's no question," Collins said. It's human nature. There's nothing like beating up on your friends, so I know he'll be ready."

Nationals manager Dusty Baker said Murphy has already proven to be a good teammate and pointed to Wednesday morning, when the team was getting ready to board the bus for Port Charlotte for its first spring training game

"The bus left at seven o'clock in the morning and he was here," Baker recalled. "I said, `What are you doing here so early?' He said, `I was here to say goodbye to my teammates and wish them well.' I don't know if I would have been here (when I was a player). That's pretty good."


Nationals: Scherzer admitted he held back against the Mets, knowing he will face them multiple times during the regular season.

"I'm just going to keep it vanilla," he said. "There's no reason to show them the chocolate, the strawberry or any of the other flavors."

Mets: Montero, a long reliever candidate, gave up a four runs, four hits and two walks while throwing 39 pitches in one inning.


Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos headed back to Washington, D.C., to have Lasik surgery performed on his eyes. Baker said the need for the surgery detected during Ramos' spring training physical. Ramos is expected back Saturday, but won't play for a few days.


Nationals: LHP Gio Gonzalez is slated to face a Marlins split squad. LHP Adam Conley is scheduled to start for Miami.

Mets: New York hosts a Miami split squad. RHP Logan Verrett is to start for the Mets and LHP Justin Nicolino gets the start for the Marlins.

[RELATED: Nats catcher Wilson Ramos returns to D.C. for minor surgery]

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The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful


The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful

It's that wonderful time of year again — when baseball teams flock to warmer climates for spring training and the regular season is practically around the corner — and Bryce Harper is already killing it.

It took the Washington Nationals a few games to brush away their offseason cobwebs and get back into gear, but since the beginning of March, they're riding a five-game win streak as of Sunday the 4th.

They are 6-4-1 in spring training going into Monday's matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Since Thursday, the Nats have taken down — in order — the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, defending World Series champion Houston Astros, the Detroit Tigers and the Mets again. Sunday's 6-2 win against the Tigers was in large part thanks to Harper's bat, as the star of the team drilled his first home run of spring training. 


Turn up the volume for this one because the sound of Harper's contact with the ball is just beautiful — and perhaps enough to get you pumped for the March 29 opener.

Harper blew this ball away in the bottom of the third for a two-run homer with Howie Kendrick on base. He also had a single in the fourth and finished the game with three RBI.

Gio Gonzalez was the winning pitcher for the Nats. 


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Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches


Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches

We are fortunate enough to live in a world where we can watch a former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback (attempt to) hit against a three-time Cy Young pitcher in a Major League Baseball preseason game.

Max Scherzer took less than a minute to strike out Tim Tebow, who was batting cleanup for the Mets in a spring training game Friday. You can watch the whole at-bat here:

It looks like Tebow and Scherzer are starting to develop a pattern - last year’s matchup between the two went down the exact same way.

Tebow was able to redeem himself later in the game with his first hit of the year against Nats prospect Erick Fedde. He will likely begin the season with the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies, but Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he believes Tebow will eventually see some at-bats in the Majors.