Washington Nationals Reaction: Daniel Murphy Continues to Crush Mets Pitching

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Jul 7, 2016; New York City, NY, USA; Washington Nationals first baseman Daniel Murphy (20) celebrates with Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper (34) after hitting a solo home run against the New York Mets during the seventh inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 7, 2016; New York City, NY, USA; Washington Nationals first baseman Daniel Murphy (20) celebrates with Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper (34) after hitting a solo home run against the New York Mets during the seventh inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jul 7, 2016; New York City, NY, USA; Washington Nationals first baseman Daniel Murphy (20) hits a solo home run against the New York Mets during the seventh inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 7, 2016; New York City, NY, USA; Washington Nationals first baseman Daniel Murphy (20) hits a solo home run against the New York Mets during the seventh inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

The Washington Nationals dropped the first contest of their four-game set with the New York Mets 9-7 Thursday night. What were the three biggest takeaways from the game between NL East rivals?

With only one series remaining on the schedule before the All-Star Break, the Nationals (51-36) entered their series with the Mets (47-38) only four games up on their division rivals. New York had won six of their previous seven games since getting swept in Washington at the end of June, powered by a suddenly potent offense that was averaging 6.6 runs per game over that stretch.

Lucas Giolito (0-0, 4.70 ERA) made his second career start in the big leagues, looking to build off his promising major league debut that was cut short by rain. He would face off with Bartolo Colon (7-4, 3.28), who hasn’t posted a scoreless start longer than a third of an inning since June 2.

The Nats jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the fourth inning behind home runs from Bryce Harper, Clint Robinson, and Anthony Rendon. Their lead would not last for long, however, as the Mets responded with three runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning to tie the game. Jose Reyes hit a solo home run in the frame, his first longball of the season.

Both teams had strong days at the plate, with the two clubs combining for 16 runs and 27 hits in the game. Washington struck again in the fifth behind RBIs from Murphy and Wilson Ramos, but the biggest hit of the day came later in the inning when Wilmer Flores left the yard with a three-run shot 382 feet into the left field seats.

Asdrubal Cabrera homered the following inning to stretch New York’s lead to two, but the Nationals would immediately respond their next time up. Murphy drove in his third run of the game with a solo homer off struggling left-hander Antonio Bastardo. He finished the day 2-5 with a pair of runs scored and the three RBIs.

The Mets bullpen pulled through late in the game, allowing New York to secure the tight win over the Nats. Addison Reed earned a hold for recording four straight outs, setting up Jeurys Familia‘s 31st save of the season.

After such a high-scoring affair, both teams will be looking for a strong performance out of their starters in Game 2 of the series. All-Star starters Stephen Strasburg (11-0, 2.70) and Noah Syndergaard (9-3, 2.41)–who are both candidates to start for the National League in next week’s All-Star Game–will take the hill for their respective clubs.

More from District on Deck

Before Strasburg toes the rubber and throws the first pitch (scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET), take a look at the three biggest takeaways from yesterday’s late-night thriller.

Next: Giolito struggles in his first road start

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