Murphy in rare air with near-. 400 average

Nats star boasts 9th-highest mark to date since 1980

Murphy in rare air with near-. 400 average

PHILADELPHIA -- In his latest display of hitting proficiency, Daniel Murphy collected three hits -- including a solo homer in the fourth and the go-ahead two-run single in the eighth -- to catapult the Nationals to a 4-3 victory Monday night at Citizens Bank Park.

He has 45 hits in May through 28 games (26 starts), the most in club history for any given month and most by a National League player in a month since Melky Cabrera collected 51 hits for the Giants in May 2012. That gives him 25 multi-hit games in the 50 games he's played this season. After his performance on Memorial Day, Murphy's average stands at .395, the best in the Majors.

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Murphy has been reluctant to talk about himself during this run, maintaining that he is focused on getting a good pitch to hit and putting a good swing on it. But the rest of the Nationals have raved about Murphy over his first two months with the team.

"It's been incredible. He's carrying our team," Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper said. "He's doing everything possible in our lineup to keep us going. It's something fun to watch. It's definitely special."

Murphy's go-ahead two-run single

George Brett hit .390 for the Royals in 1980, but since then only nine players have hit at least .395 on May 30, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The last to do so was Chipper Jones, who was batting .409 in 2008. The other seven: Rod Carew (.451, 1983), Paul O'Neill (.443, 1994), Todd Helton (.420, 2000), Tony Gwynn (.408, 1997), Larry Walker (.408, 1997), Roberto Alomar (.400, 1996) and Carney Lansford (.399, 1988).

"They're falling right now," Murphy said. "I'm swinging the bat well. I think we're all swinging the bat well, and I think we've put ourselves in a really good spot through almost two months of the season."

The Nationals have not received consistent offense from many spots in their lineup this season -- from Jayson Werth to Ryan Zimmerman to Anthony Rendon and even Harper lately -- that it is fair to wonder where this team would be without Murphy, who signed a three-year contract as a free agent last offseason.

"I don't know. We wouldn't be close, especially offensively," manager Dusty Baker said. "You don't know who else we would have had, but he certainly couldn't have been any better than Daniel Murphy. ... Just keeps doing his thing, and we're going to help him keep doing his thing."

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.