The Washington Nationals always seem to have an extra pep in their step when they take on the New York Mets, their biggest rival in the National League East. So does second baseman Daniel Murphy, who emerged as a star in New York before taking the money and running to the national's capital. During the final game of his initial return trip to the Big Apple in 2017, he made his old team pay by smacking a significant hit in the first inning of the Sunday night game.

That's a grand slam

The first time Murphy came to the plate on Sunday night, the bases were loaded.

That was the result of a strange first inning for starter Zack Wheeler. He grazed Adam Eaton with a pitch to start the game, then gave up an infield single to Trea Turner. Bryce Harper loaded the bases for the Nationals, bringing cleanup hitter Daniel Murphy to the plate.

With Wheeler less than 20 pitches into his start, he left one somewhat low, which Murphy was able to elevate to the alley between the advertisements and seats beyond the right-center field wall. It was the first time he had hit a grand slam against the Mets, which is more than one can say about the amount of time he hit one for the Mets. The blast gave the Nationals a four-run lead before the Mets could even step up to the plate, dooming them to a series sweep at the hands of their division rivals.

Proved to be the difference

The Mets were never able to recover from the Murphy grand slam. Wheeler settled down after the hit, giving up just a single hit and two walks for the rest of his outing without surrendering a run. The Mets slowly began to whittle down the lead, with two home runs cutting the deficit to a single run.

Just as it seemed the game was in reach, however, Josh Smoker came in for the Mets and gave up a monstrous two-run homer to Ryan Zimmerman, clinching a 6-3 victory for the Nationals.

Max Scherzer was human in giving up two home runs, but he was otherwise sensational for the Nationals. Meanwhile, the primary excitement for Mets fans came when Yoenis Cespedes stepped up in the on-deck circle after Joe Reyes in the bottom of the ninth inning.

The injured outfielder never made it to the plate, though, as Reyes flown out to end the game. Injuries have derailed the Mets' campaign early this season, but they can't serve as an excuse for the team with higher aspirations than their performance level right now. Neither can the return of Daniel Murphy, which will happen two more times this season.