Continued from page 1

“He puts any pitch he wants wherever he wants it, and it’s a striking resemblance to [2011 American League MVP and Cy Young winner Justin Verlander]. That’s what’s really fun to watch and you kind of take it for granted. … He makes it looks so casual.”

The Nationals continued to put nails in the Mets‘ coffin — New York has lost 12 of 13 since the All-Star break — though Atlanta remained 4½ games back.

They headed to Milwaukee for a chance to move 20 games over .500 for the first time in seven years. The last time the Nationals got this close they fell into a tailspin. Starting with their ace, they don’t carry themselves in a way that indicates that type of history will repeat itself.

“We know we’re good,” Morse said. “That’s what it comes down to. Our pitching’s really good. Hitters are doing their jobs. So why not have confidence? Why not have a little swagger?”