This just in: Daniel Murphy makes (game-ending) out against Mets

Mets top Nats in 10 with Rivera’s first homer (0:51)

Mets closer Jeurys Familia blows his fourth save of the season in the ninth inning, but second baseman T.J. Rivera provides his first career home run to propel New York past Washington 4-3. (0:51)

WASHINGTON — This just in: Daniel Murphy is human.

As good as the Washington Nationals’ second baseman has been in his first season in D.C. — and he arguably has been as good as anyone in baseball — he has been downright superhuman against the New York Mets. Entering Tuesday, Murphy was batting .412 with seven homers and 21 RBIs, and had at least one hit in each every game against his former team. As if that weren’t enough, he went out and collected two more hits in his first four at-bats Tuesday.

With his seventh-inning double, he extended his hitting streak against the Mets to 18 games, the longest by any player in a single season against the Mets. (And, if you really want to dork out, that doesn’t include his last three spring training games against New York, in which he also hit safely.) His ninth-inning, leadoff single off closer Jeurys Familia sparked a two-run rally and sent the game into extra innings.

So when Murphy came up in the bottom of the 10th with two outs, a runner on first, and his team trailing 4-3 (All-Star closer Mark Melancon served up T.J. Rivera’s first career homer in the top of the 10th), it was almost a given that he would come through again. Until he didn’t.

Daniel Murphy has been a Mets killer all season, but even he couldn’t change the Nationals’ fate Tuesday. Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Sports

Facing lefty Jerry Blevins, who was brought in expressly for the purpose of retiring the lefty-hitting Murphy, and against whom he was 1-for-10 lifetime, the Nats slugger did exactly what a normal human being would do. Well, at least a normal left-handed hitting professional baseball player kind of human being: He struck out.

On the scale of epic baseball anticlimaxes, it wasn’t quite “Casey at the Bat.” But given how unbelievably dominant Murphy has been against his old mates, it wasn’t far from it.

Is was such an aberration that after the game, Murphy — who tends to keep his postgame responses on the brief side — was even more abbreviated that usual when recounting the final out.

“I was trying to put it in play,” he said. “I was unsuccessful. I saw curveballs and fastballs.”

Murphy’s manager was a little more forthcoming.

“Blevins has been around a long time,” said Dusty Baker, trying not to act shocked that Mr. Met-killer came up short. “They know Murph as well as Murph knows them. It’s a situation where they got Murph tonight, but Murph’s gotten them many, many, many, many, many, many times.”

If you’re keeping score at home, that’s six manys. And in case you’re wondering, no, Baker does not have a stuttering problem. It’s just that, well, that’s how preternaturally productive Murphy has been against the Mets this season. Of course, they’re not the only team he has tormented.

“Murphy’s done his thing,” said Baker of the 31-year old vet who currently leads the NL in batting, slugging, OPS, hits, extra-base hits, and doubles. “He’s carried the weight of this team for a long, long, long time.”

If you’re keeping score at home, that’s three longs. And no, Baker still does not have a stuttering problem. What he does have though is a first-place team that, despite Tuesday’s tough loss, has a magic number in the single digits. Nine, to be exact.

“The mark of a champion is when you figure out a way to win and come back,” said Baker, who chose seeing the forest through the lens of his team’s ninth-inning rally. “Even though we lost, that game is going to go a long ways with us in our quest for the championship.”


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Posted by on Sep 14 2016. Filed under Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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