Nationals' Murphy homers, haunts Mets again

On Sunday, Murphy hit a two-run shot off Steven Matz in the first inning - his third homer of the series and fourth in five games against the Mets. The Mets are 2 1/2 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers, the No. 1 wild card and six games behind the Nationals in the NL East. The only thing I'm not going to be doing is playing the game. My right side is good.

The Mets and Nationals will close out the first half Sunday with the finale of a four-game series at Citi Field. He had six homers as a Met lifetime against Washington. Collins said Cespedes was "pretty sore" on Saturday but that he hoped he could come off the bench Sunday.... Can the Mets get healthy and work the trade deadline as masterfully as they did in 2015? No similar acquisition is expected this time.

"It's a very disappointing end to the homestand. No question about it", Collins acknowledged. "That's what made us so successful in the second half and I can see that happening again". When we've got guys in scoring position, we've just got to realize that a single is going to work.

Murphy tops the majors with a. 348 batting average at the All-Star break, boosted by the damage he's done to the Mets. He has recorded a hit in all 13 games, hit 7 home runs, and tallied 21 RBIs.

The Mets are now 4-9 against the Nationals this season, with six of those losses coming in the last two weeks. The record for the most RBIs in a single season against the Mets is owned by Hank Aaron with 28 in 1962. Murphy also homered off Bastardo in the series opener Thursday.

"Sometimes we're not happy where we are, because we think we're better", Collins said. He's hitting mistake pitches and he's hitting really good pitches. I don't have any answers. David Wright is now an afterthought and Lucas Duda is far from returning to add some punch, though the dependence on a home run ball continued to be a first half theme.

The New York Mets came into the 2016 season with the highest aspirations after reaching the World Series previous year.

The Mets obviously underestimated the long-term ramifications of those adjustments. There was no definitive word on how long they will be out, but manager Terry Collins indicated that neither injury was major. And I'm sticking with it.' And he's probably even refined it a little bit more - the fact that he's on the plate, the fact that he's pulling a little bit more. Manager Dusty Baker left Gonzalez out there with a one-run lead in the sixth inning, but pulled him after he allowed a two-out single to Juan Lagares on his 108th pitch of the afternoon.

The Mets did get a pair of homers from another player they once allowed to depart as a free agent. Matz posted one of his best starts at Washington on May 25, striking out seven and walking one while scattering four hits over eight scoreless innings.

The respite is welcome to just about everyone on the Mets except Jose Reyes. It marked Reyes' first two-homer game since September 27, 2011. Ben Revere then tripled up the right-field line to put the Nationals up, 2-1.

Finally starting to feel confident again in the batter's box, Reyes lamented the timing of the All-Star break, but still believes his performances will continue to carry a vintage feel the rest of the season. "For me I don't want that right now. It's part of baseball".

"I would say I'm surprised", Murphy said. But treading water is acceptable for a team that has fielded its Opening Day lineup nine times - and not at all since April 22.

After Cespedes left Friday's game, Noah Syndergaard departed in the fifth with "arm fatigue".

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