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Washington Nationals’ lineup for finale with St. Louis Cardinals + Dusty Baker on Daniel Murphy, Bryce Harper

Natioanls’ skipper Dusty Baker talked after last night’s win about his 3-4 hitters tearing things up early this season.

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Dusty Baker finally relented, sort of. After a couple weeks of saying that Daniel Murphy was not quite 100%, not health-wise, of course, but in terms of timing, following a less-than-active Spring, Baker, in his post game press conference Tuesday night, finally did acknowledge that Murphy’s getting back to being Murphy.

With hits in all eight games this season, and multi-hit games in six after Tuesday’s 4 for 5 night in the nation’s capital, Murphy’s getting up to speed.

He lined out in his first trip to the plate, but the 32-year-old infielder singled with the bases loaded to drive in two runs the second time up in the third, homered in the fifth and doubled in each of his last two plate appearances in the seventh and eighth.

Most importantly, the two-run single and two-run home run followed walks to Bryce Harper.

Murphy made the St. Louis Cardinals pay for putting the Nationals’ 24-year-old slugger on, something the Nats struggled to do at times last season, before Harper’s struggles at the plate began.

“Murph’s picking it up,” Dusty Baker told reporters after the Nationals’ 8-3 win.

“He seems like he has it all together now cause he’s spitting on pitches, certain balls that he was swinging at before. He’s on the fastball, he’s on the breaking ball and he has a pretty good idea always what they’re trying to do to him. And, boy, that was a great offensive showing by Daniel tonight.

“I think he drove in our first four runs, especially when they’re walking Bryce, then he makes them pay for it. So I’m just glad that Murph is swinging the bat the way he is.”

Through eight games, Murphy is 17 for 36 (.472/.486/.778) with five doubles, two home runs, a walk and two Ks.

Harper is 11 for 28 (.393/.541/.679) with two doubles, two home runs, nine walks and six Ks.

Baker talked after the game about the Nationals’ 3-4 hitters and the damage they can do in the middle of the lineup.

“They can be as good as there is in baseball,” Baker said.

“They both walk, they both hit left-handers, they both hit right-handers, and so I’d like to leave my 3-4 alone and kind of work around that. And so just trying to find a way to maximize the rest of the guys in the lineup and have some balance up and down the lineup.”

Not that the rest of the Nationals’ hitters are struggling.

“Some of the other guys are swinging the bat well too. You got [Ryan Zimmerman], he’s swinging the bat well and you got [Jayson Werth], he’s swinging the bat well, and [Matt] Wieters is swinging the bat very well. That’s what you need. You need three or four guys up and down that lineup swinging the bat well.”

Here’s the lineup that will take on the Cardinals this afternoon in the series finale in Nationals Park: