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Dusty Baker prepared for Game 5 by packing for Chicago

Dusty Baker prepared for Game 5 by packing for Chicago

WASHINGTON — Thursday was just like any other game day for Dusty Baker. The Nationals manager woke up, said his prayers and drank some coffee. 

He did one other thing. “Then packed for Chicago,” he volunteered. 

If the Nationals beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 5 of the Division Series, they go on to Wrigley Field for Saturday's Game 1 of the National League Championship Series. 

As a manager, Baker has lost eight consecutive games with the opportunity to clinch a playoff round, most in baseball history. 

The streak dates back to the Game 6 of the 2002 World Series when Baker’s San Francisco Giants led the Anaheim Angels by three games to two. 

The Giants had a 5-0 lead in the seventh, and lost 6-5. They lost the seventh game, too. 

That was Baker’s first — and last World Series. 

After that season, Baker moved on to the Chicago Cubs and nearly had the Cubs in the World Series before the disastrous Game 6 of the NLCS when the Florida Marlins scored eight runs in the eighth inning, and then won Game 7. 

Jump ahead nine years to 2012 when Baker was managing the Cincinnati Reds when they took a 2-0 lead over the Giants in the Division Series, then lost three straight. 

In 2013, the Reds lost the wild-card game to Pittsburgh, and on Tuesday, with a chance to win the series at Dodger Stadium, lost 6-5.

“The guys are excited. I haven't really talked to them about it too much, but the shadows are a big deal. It's a big deal on both sides,” Baker said. 

This is the first night game in the series, and Baker is happy about it. 

“I mean, we're glad to have a night game. I don't think anybody's overjoyed to have to have a night game starting at 8, but that's TV; it kind of runs the world. You've got another hour of nervous energy to deal with,” Baker said. “But you know, the guys are poised and ready.”

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Murphy, Scherzer slam Mets with 7th straight win

Murphy, Scherzer slam Mets with 7th straight win

NEW YORK -- Daniel Murphy hit an early grand slam against his former team, Max Scherzer pitched eight fiery innings and the Washington Nationals beat the New York Mets 6-3 on Sunday night for their seventh straight victory.

Ryan Zimmerman added a two-run homer for the Nationals, who completed a three-game sweep of the short-handed Mets in the first series this season between the NL East rivals.

Missing slugger Yoenis Cespedes and two other injured starters, New York (8-11) has lost four in a row and eight of nine to fall 5 1/2 games behind the Nationals, who own the best record in the majors at 13-5. The winning streak is their longest since a seven-game run last April.

Scherzer (3-1) struck out nine and walked one in his latest win over the Mets, a team he has often dominated -- especially since signing with Washington in January 2015. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, who fanned 17 in a no-hitter at Citi Field on Oct. 3, 2015, pumped his fist and slapped his glove after setting down the crucial hitters in this one.

Koda Glover got three outs for his second major league save, both in the past two days.

Michael Conforto hit his second leadoff homer of the series and had three hits for New York. Neil Walker's two-run homer pulled the Mets to 4-3 in the third, but that was all Scherzer allowed. He got a double-play grounder after Conforto's one-out single in the fifth and retired his final 10 batters.

Murphy connected in the first off Zack Wheeler (1-2), who had sharp stuff throughout his seven innings of four-hit ball. Zimmerman went deep in the eighth against reliever Josh Smoker to make it 6-3.

Murphy, booed by the Queens crowd, has eight home runs and 25 RBIs in 22 games against the Mets since they let him leave as a free agent before last season.

More Nationals: DOES MIKE RIZZO SEE THE NATS HAVING A CLOSER BY COMMITTEE?​

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Daniel Murphy strikes again vs. Mets with second career grand slam

Daniel Murphy strikes again vs. Mets with second career grand slam

If you can’t be with them — beat them.

That seems to be the slogan Daniel Murphy has lived by since leaving the Mets in 2015.

Tonight’s game started off with a bang… a grand slam by Murphy himself. This helped launch the Nationals to a 4-0 lead.

Just like these boys in the tweet, we “give a five” to Murphy as it was also the second grand slam of his career, both hit while playing under the Nationals. This follows his career night where he helped the Nats knock off the Cardinals

Muprhy has absolutely owned the Mets since joing the Nationals. he has recorded at least one base hit in all 19 head-to-head games.

RELATED: DOES MIKE RIZZO SEE THE NATS HAVING A CLOSER BY COMITTEE?