MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Murphy haunts former club at old haunt

Second baseman has big series as Nationals take two of three from Mets

Murphy haunts former club at old haunt

NEW YORK -- After helping the Nationals pound the Mets, 9-1, on Thursday night at Citi Field, second baseman Daniel Murphy was like the returning king of New York in the visitors' clubhouse as he talked to the media.

Murphy, who was a postseason hero with the Mets last year, helped the Nationals take two out of three games in the series. He gave Washington the lead by hitting a two-run homer in the first inning off Matt Harvey and ended up going 4-for-11 (.364) with a homer and four RBIs in the series.

Cast your Esurance All-Star ballot for Murphy and other #ASGWorthy players

As is his custom, Murphy declined to talk about himself. He would rather talk about the team victory.

"It was nice getting two out of three. … Big series for us," Murphy said. "It's really nice to go on the road in the division to get two out of three."

But the Nationals couldn't help but talk about Murphy. This is a player who has been a hitting machine all season, batting a Major League-leading .397. Manager Dusty Baker said he hasn't seen a hitter this successful at the plate since perhaps Barry Bonds or Joey Votto, who played for Baker when he managed the Giants and Reds, respectively.

"I don't know where we would be right now if not for Daniel," Baker said.

Murphy totally dekes Cespedes, can't help but smile

Bryce Harper told a member of the Mets before the game that he likes how Murphy sticks to his routine.

"He sticks to what he knows. He is a great player," Harper said.

Teammates even seek out Murphy for hitting tips. Ben Revere, who was in a 5-for-52 slump, sought Murphy's advice on Wednesday. Murphy told him to start hitting the ball to left-center field after watching Revere hit weak ground balls to the right side of the diamond. Murphy's advice appeared to work: Revere went 2-for-5 with a two-run triple on Thursday.

"He has been remarkable here," Revere said. "It was fun just talking to him. He is going to help you out when you are struggling. He helped me out yesterday. He got me back on the right path."

Revere's two-run triple

Murphy declined to give himself credit for Revere's success.

"Ben looked good today. He could have easily had three or four base hits the way he swung the bat," Murphy said. "To really have good at-bats at the top, it starts putting pressure on the defense. It starts opening up holes from the top of our lineup."

Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 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.