Mad Max in midseason form for Nats vs. Mets

Mad Max in midseason form for Nats vs. Mets

VIERA, Fla. -- The Nationals played their first home game of the spring and beat the Mets, 9-4, at Space Coast Stadium on Thursday afternoon.

The Nationals didn't waste any time against right-hander Rafael Montero in the bottom of the first, as they scored four runs. National League MVP Bryce Harper drove in Ben Revere with a long single to right field. Anthony Rendon followed and singled to right, scoring Daniel Murphy and Harper. Rendon scored the fourth run of the game on a single by Reed Johnson.

Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer took advantage of the situation and pitched two scoreless innings and struck out one batter.

Scherzer makes spring debut

"It's just a matter of getting out there and getting some feel," Scherzer said. "I executed some pitches. I didn't execute some others. It gives you a good starting point."

New York scored its first run in the fourth inning off right-hander Yusmeiro Petit. Michael Conforto came home on a sacrifice fly by Kevin Plawecki.

The Nationals added four more runs by the sixth inning, three of those runs came off right-hander Paul Sewald. Trea Turner hit a solo homer, while Stephen Drew had a two-run single.

The Mets were able to get to right-hander Taylor Jordan in the top of the eighth inning by scoring three runs. Travis Taijeron highlighted the scoring with an RBI double.

It was a game that saw Murphy face his old team, the Mets, for the first time since electing to become a free agent and signing a three-year, $37.5 million with Washington. Murphy ended up going 0-for-1 with walk and a run scored.

"It was definitely fun. It was really nice to be able to jump out there in that first inning after Max went out there and had a clean inning," Murphy said. "There were some good at-bats in that first inning. I settled in pretty quickly. It was definitely different. It was four or five months ago, all those guys [the Mets] were my teammates -- and just about everybody in the organization. I'm excited to be here in Washington. I thought it was a good start to Spring Training."

Up next for the Mets: Expect the Mets to field a much more representative lineup for their home opener Friday at Tradition Field. Yoenis Cespedes is a good bet to make his Grapefruit League debut in the 1:10 p.m. ET game against the Marlins, while right-hander Logan Verrett will start opposite Justin Nicolino. Watch live on MLB.TV.

Up next for the Nationals: They travel to Jupiter, Fla., to play the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium at 1:05 p.m. ET. Left-hander Gio Gonzalez will start the game and will be followed by right-handers Bronson Arroyo and Lucas Giolito, the team's No. 1 prospect. All three pitchers are expected to pitch two innings and throw 35 pitches.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.