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Murphy's big hit helps Nats beat Mets 6-1

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USA TODAY Sports

Murphy's big hit helps Nats beat Mets 6-1

Daniel Murphy and Trea Turner each hit a two-run single in Washington's five-run seventh inning, helping the Nationals beat the New York Mets 6-1 on Sunday.

Matt Adams added two hits and scored a run as Washington salvaged a split of its four-game set against New York. A preseason favorite to win the NL East and contend for a World Series championship, the disappointing Nationals hit the All-Star break with a 48-48 record, good for third in the division.

Jeremy Hellickson (4-1) pitched six crisp innings in his second straight win. The veteran right-hander allowed one run and two hits, struck out six and walked two.

Jose Reyes drove in Michael Conforto with a fielder's choice in the second, tying it at 1, but Washington grabbed control in the seventh.

Juan Soto and Anthony Rendon opened the inning with walks against Anthony Swarzak (0-2). Tim Peterson then came in and surrendered singles to Adams and Murphy, who came off the bench to hit for Michael A. Taylor.

Jerry Blevins replaced Peterson with two out and runners on second and third. But he hit Wilmer Difo and Adam Eaton before Turner's single gave Washington a 6-1 lead.

New York wasted a solid start by Corey Oswalt, who allowed two hits in five innings. The Mets got off to a fast start this year, but hit the break last in the division with a 39-55 record, a percentage point behind fourth-place Miami.

WAITING

A steady drizzle delayed the start by 47 minutes.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (right shoulder inflammation) pitched 5 2/3 innings in a rehab start for Class A Potomac. He allowed three runs, struck out seven and walked one. Strasburg has been on the disabled list since June 10.

Mets: Yoenis Cespedes is scheduled to play five simulated innings in left field at the team's facility in Florida on Monday. Mets manager Mickey Callaway said the 32-year-old outfielder, who has been sidelined by a right hip flexor and strained quadriceps, could return as the designated hitter next weekend against the Yankees If he is able to play on consecutive days.

MAKING MOVES

The Nationals recalled right-hander Trevor Gott from Triple-A Syracuse. Right-hander Austin Voth, who took the loss in his big league debut Saturday, was sent back to Syracuse.

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Max Scherzer strikes out 14 in the Nats 2-1 win over the Dodgers

Max Scherzer strikes out 14 in the Nats 2-1 win over the Dodgers

LOS ANGELES  -- Max Scherzer knows exactly what he is. At age 32 and in his 10th major league season, he has absolutely no doubt.

"I'm a strikeout pitcher," Scherzer said. "That's just who I am."

No one had to convince the Los Angeles Dodgers after Scherzer struck out a season-high 14, outpitching Brandon McCarthy to lead the Washington Nationals to a 2-1 victory that ended with a testy exchange Tuesday night.

With a runner on second base, Koda Glover fanned Yasiel Puig for the final out and shouted in the direction of home plate. Not pleased, Puig walked toward the mound and twice appeared to ask Glover what he said.

Glover took off his cap and tossed aside his glove as players from both teams quickly intervened to keep the two separated. Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman pulled Glover away, and nothing escalated before the squads headed off the field.

"Tempers flared a little bit," Glover said. "It is what it is. I don't have any hard feelings towards him. He was staring at me and I didn't like it."

Both starting pitchers went seven innings and allowed only three hits. The first 11 outs for Scherzer (7-3) came on strikeouts.

"He can get sharp when he needs to be," Washington manager Dusty Baker said. "He had quite a few pitches early. The strikeouts don't help your pitch total, but Max was outstanding."

For the second consecutive night, a scuffling Nationals bullpen came through. Oliver Perez held the Dodgers scoreless in the eighth and Glover worked the ninth to earn his eighth save in nine tries.

"He knows what he wants to do," Scherzer said. "He's a closer. He wants the ball. He's not afraid of anybody. He's going to attack the zone. He has unbelievable stuff. He has the attitude to go out there with a chip on his shoulder."

Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy each had a sacrifice fly for Washington, which has won the first two games of this series between NL pennant contenders.

Los Angeles took a tense playoff series between the teams last year, winning in five games.

Trea Turner opened the game by beating out a little tapper to third. He stole second and third before scoring on Harper's sacrifice fly.

The Dodgers answered with a run in the bottom half after Chase Utley singled. Corey Seager's grounder to second was bobbled by Murphy for an error, and Adrian Gonzalez lined a single to score Utley.

The Nationals scored the go-ahead run in the fourth after Harper led off with a ground-rule double. Zimmerman's groundout moved him to third, and Murphy hit a deep sac fly to center field.

McCarthy (5-3), who lasted only four innings in his previous start because of a blister, walked two and struck out four.

"It seems like every single time he gets out there he has control of the game, and he's so well prepared," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "For us to have him healthy -- and we got through that blister thing tonight -- I think that's a victory in itself."

Scherzer walked two and did not permit an earned run. He struck out Taylor and Yasmani Grandal three times each. The two-time Cy Young Award winner has 38 strikeouts in his last three starts.

MORE NATS: NATS AGREE TO TERMS WITH BRYCE HARPER FOR 2018

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Daniel Murphy tiptoes toward home plate as Nats score first run of NLDS Game 5

Daniel Murphy tiptoes toward home plate as Nats score first run of NLDS Game 5

A baseball team will take any go-ahead run in the playoffs any way they can get it — even if it looks a little funny. 

The Nationals got on the board first in Thursday's do-or-die NLDS Game 5 against the Dodgers thanks to a second-inning RBI single by Danny Espinosa. The hit drove in Daniel Murphy, who took a bit of an…interesting route to home plate.

After rounding third, Murphy had to avoid Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal, who was up the third base line because of an errant throw from right fielder Josh Reddick. After Murphy sidestepped Grandal, he did a bit of a twinkle-toes maneuver before finally crossing the plate for the first run of the night. Check it out for yourself. 

Whatever works, yeah?