Daniel Murphy connected for hits in all three games against the Philadelphia Phillies this past weekend, going 5 for 12 overall, and he capped things off with a three-hit game and go-ahead two-run double in the bottom of the eighth to complete the comeback Sunday night the nation’s capital.
After a lot of hard work rehabbing from offseason knee surgery, Murphy came up big with the hit that put them over the top and helped the Nationals avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of Washington’s NL East rivals.
“It was awesome,” Murphy told reporters after the Nationals’ 8-6 win.
“But that inning was made long before I got up. I’m the sixth batter of the inning right there and there were some great at bats that were had in front of me, [Brian Goodwin] getting it started, and so I was just happy for the opportunity.
“Heading into that inning I knew I was hitting sixth, and I knew my at bat could possibly be bases loaded two outs, and I’m just trying to prepare myself for that situation.”
It was a long night in Nationals Park though, and after an overnight flight, that was delayed, Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez decided to give his 33-year-old infielder a rest. It was just a night off, however.
“I’ve said this before,” he explained before last night’s game. “I want to keep [Murphy] kind of on a schedule. He’s played three days, and yesterday was a pretty long game for him.
“[He] had three hits, ran the bases, went first-to-third. Coming on the turf today I just kind of wanted to give him a little break.”
Keeping Murphy healthy and in the lineup is a concern for the first-year skipper, who said the impact he can have for the Nationals was clear over the weekend.
“You see what he did for us yesterday. That’s the Murphy that I’ve seen for years. The guy is a professional hitter, and to throw him in the middle of our lineup, it creates more length in our lineup, which is really nice.”
Murphy’s back in there this afternoon, as the Nationals try to earn a split of the two-game set and bounce back from last night’s dispiriting, 11-0 loss. Oh, and Max Scherzer starts.