The Nationals, and Murphy, are trolling the hell out of the Mets

"Oh my gosh, how many superlatives can you say?" Scherzer said when asked about Murphy.

"Murph is learning how to hit the ball out of the ballpark, so sky's the limit". He just understands what he is doing at the plate.

This time Murphy's victim was Steven Matz, who was nowhere near as good this time as he was against the Nationals in D.C. on May 25.

With one out in the top of the first, Jayson Werth singled to right and Murphy blasted a two-run homer to put the Nationals up 2-0. He is hitting. 349 overall - and he's batting. He homered three times and drove in 10 runs in this series.

The homer was the 16th of the season for Murphy, two more than his previous career high set last season.

New York Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz removes his cap leaving the mound after allowing a two-run home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Sunday, July 10, 2016, in New York.

Giants ace Madison Bumgarner starts in the twilight at home against Arizona in the last scheduled matchup before the All-Star Game. "That's the way I look at it".

"I think everybody I walked tonight scored", Verrett said after the Mets fell five games behind Washington in the NL East. "You can't let that happen". The Nationals reached the All-Star Break with at least a share of first place for the third straight season and the fifth time since moving to Washington in 2005. "He added Murphy's hitting reminded him of some of the great players he either played with or managed - Orlando Cepeda, Rico Carty, Barry Bonds, Jeff Kent and Moises Alou.". In fact, if not for Murphy, the Mets would have the best ERA in baseball.

"Anybody who has gotten traded or came back to play their old team, definitely it means a lot to them", Baker said.

"We're still in a race", manager Terry Collins said. "That's human nature and it's part of the game". Can the Mets get healthy and work the trade deadline as masterfully as they did in 2015? "We've got to do a better job". The southpaw ultimately allowed three runs on six hits and four walks in seven innings.

The Nationals posted their 54th win, matching the 1994 Montreal Expos for the most in franchise history before the break.

Right-hander Logan Verrett (3-6) took the loss in his first start since replacing injured Matt Harvey in the Mets' rotation.

Scherzer also scored the decisive run int he third, when he drew a leadoff walk and scored on Ben Revere's triple.

The Mets showed resiliency in finishing the first half six games above.

Scherzer minimized the damage, giving up a sacrifice fly to Neil Walker and striking out Asdrubal Cabrera and Brandon Nimmo. Familia has converted all 31 of his save opportunities while Jerry Blevins and Addison Reed have been strong in the seventh and eighth inning. He got checked and stayed in.

Scherzer explained after the game, the brown eye, his left one, is his pitching eye.

After tossing 6 2/3 innings Sunday against Cincinnati in his return from an upper back strain, Strasburg was pulled with a no-hitter intact because he had already thrown 109 pitches. He struck out to end the game with a heavy rain starting to fall and the fans getting up to leave. Collins said Mets OF Yoenis Cespedes, who exited after three innings Friday due to a right quad strain was "pretty sore" on Saturday and probably was not available off the bench....

What's next: Jeurys Familia, Bartolo Colon and Noah Syndergaard as well as Collins and his staff depart for the All-Star Game in San Diego, although Syndergaard will not pitch because of arm fatigue.

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