LOS ANGELES --- Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy doesn't like to talk about himself when things are going well at the plate. He prefers to give credit to his teammates. But after the Nationals lost to the Dodgers, 6-5, in Game 4 of the National League Division Series on Tuesday, Murphy was understandably the offensive focus yet again.
Murphy went 2-for-3, knocked in four runs and is now 6-for-13 (.462) in four games of this NLDS, which concludes with a winner-take-all Game 5 on Thursday (8 p.m. ET on FS1). He picked up where he left off during the regular season, one in which he led the Nats in almost every offensive category, including batting average, home runs, RBIs and doubles. This is the same player who was the MVP of the NL Championship Series last year when he was a member of the Mets.
"You know, he was one of the best hitters before we got here," manager Dusty Baker said. "He knows how to hit. He comes through in the clutch."
No matter how tough Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw was in Tuesday's game, Murphy hung in well with the three-time NL Cy Young Award winner. Murphy's first RBI came in the opening inning, when he singled to right field, scoring Trea Turner to give Washington an early 1-0 lead. Murphy tied the game at 2 in the third inning when he hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Turner again.
Murphy's biggest hit came in the seventh. Another left-hander, Luis Avilan, was on the mound, and Murphy won the battle again. Murphy drove in two runs with a single and tied the score at 5.
Murphy declined to take credit for what he accomplished on Tuesday.
"Every single one of my at-bats today was with runners on base," Murphy said. "That's just a testament to the guys in front of me. They are putting traffic on. Every time you get traffic in front of me, it puts the pitcher in a high-leverage situation. It's just more beneficial for me."
Murphy is more than just a run producer; he is a student of hitting. Turner watches Murphy at work on a daily basis.
"He puts a lot of effort in his [pregame] work, cage work, each pitch, batting practice," Turner said. "He puts a lot of effort into it, and I think that's why he is good. You can learn quickly and become a better baseball player."
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.