Bill Ladson

Nats happy to have seasoned Murphy on board

Nats happy to have seasoned Murphy on board

ATLANTA -- Daniel Murphy not only went deep in his Nationals debut, but he hit the game-winning double as the the Nats edged the Braves, 4-3, in 10 innings.

It was Murphy's first regular-season game as a member of the Nationals and, for one game at least, one can understand why the team signed him for three years and $37.5 million. Besides going 2-for-3, Murphy also had two walks. He admitted he had Opening Day jitters, but he settled in the batter's box quickly.

"You're always a little geeked up for Opening Day and try to get in there and get settled in the box, and kind of feel your feet a little bit," Murphy said. "I got a ground ball early, so that's always nice too. It was a great win, a great way to start the year."

Even Bryce Harper was impressed by what he saw from Murphy. He is glad that Murphy is on his side.

Murphy's go-ahead double

"He has that big league mentality. He has that big league approach. To be able to learn from a guy like that is huge," Harper said. "He knows what he wants to do up there. He has his plan of what he wants to do. It's a lot of fun to watch, especially when he's in a Nationals uniform now. It's huge for us. He is a grinder. He comes in every single day and works hard. He's out here to win ballgames."

Murphy gave the Nationals a 2-1 lead when he swung at a 2-0 pitch from right-hander Julio Teheran and belted the ball over the center-field fence in the fourth inning. Teammate Jayson Werth was surprised that Murphy was able to go deep on the ball because the shadows were factors while he was in the batter's box.

In the top of the 10th, the Nationals took advantage of a throwing error by second baseman Gordon Beckham. With Ryan Zimmerman on second base, Murphy was ahead in the count, 3-0. Two pitches later, Murphy hit a double to left field, bringing Zimmerman home with the go-ahead run.

After the game, Murphy didn't want to talk about his heroics. He wanted to talk about the team victory.

"That was a great win, started by Max Scherzer going seven innings. Really nice to be on this side of that," Murphy said. "And then Bryce picks up right where he left off last year and gives us a 1-0 lead in the first. Felt like we were up and running. A great ballgame. Everybody got a piece of it."

But it was Murphy who got most of it.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for 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.