- Associated Press - Monday, April 4, 2016

ATLANTA — Daniel Murphy hit a home run and a go-ahead double in the 10th inning as the Washington Nationals rallied past the Atlanta Braves, 4-3, on Monday in the first game of the final season at Turner Field.

Reigning National League MVP Bryce Harper also hit a home run in his first plate appearance of the season, and the Nationals made a winner of Dusty Baker in his first game as their manager.

Washington tied the score in the ninth inning on Michael A. Taylor’s sacrifice fly to shallow center field. Atlanta nearly escaped with a game-ending double play, but Jayson Werth scored when catcher A.J. Pierzynski dropped Ender Inciarte’s accurate throw that beat Werth to the plate.

Murphy’s one-out double to left off Eric O’Flaherty drove in Ryan Zimmerman from second base. Zimmerman reached on a two-base throwing error by second baseman Gordon Beckham.

Murphy also walked twice in his first game since leaving the New York Mets as a free agent and signing a $37.5 million, three-year contract with Washington. The NL Championship Series MVP last season set a record by hitting a home run in six consecutive playoff games last season.

Freddie Freeman and Adonis Garcia hit home runs against Nationals starter Max Scherzer, who gave up two runs and three hits in seven innings.

Blake Treinen pitched a scoreless ninth for Washington and Jonathan Papelbon got three consecutive outs for the save.

The Braves took a 3-2 lead in the eighth inning. Shawn Kelley, who replaced Felipe Rivero with the bases loaded, threw four consecutive balls to Garcia to force in a run.

Harper hit a home run into the right-field seats off Julio Teheran in the first inning. Only 23, the slugger already has four career home runs on opening day. He hit two home runs in the opener in 2013 and also connected last year.

Teheran allowed two runs on five hits and three walks in six innings.

The new rule prohibiting takeout slides at second base cost the Braves a baserunner after Nick Markakis walked in the seventh. On Hector Olivera’s grounder to third, Markakis slid wide of second base, upending Murphy, whose throw to first was late.

Olivera was ruled out at first for a double play because the slide by Markakis took him too far inside the bag. Murphy pointed to Markakis immediately after the play and Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez left the dugout briefly but did not argue the call.

Nationals center fielder Ben Revere was replaced by Taylor to open the fifth inning. The Nationals did not immediately report any health or injury issue with Revere.

Baker said Tanner Roark will start Thursday’s home opener against the Miami Marlins. Joe Ross and Scherzer will follow Roark in the rotation before Gio Gonzalez makes his first start. Baker said Gonzalez was available in the bullpen on Monday.

The manager said he and pitching coach Mike Maddux “discussed it and changed it and rehashed it” before settling on a plan designed to protect the bullpen. The plan was influenced by off days on Tuesday and Friday this week.

Right-hander Stephen Strasburg will try to improve his unimpressive career numbers against Atlanta on Wednesday in the second game of the series. Strasburg is 6-7 with a 3.77 ERA in 19 career starts against the Braves, including a 3-3 mark and 4.79 ERA in nine starts at Turner Field.

He’ll oppose Bud Norris, who won 15 games for the Baltimore Orioles in 2014 and will try to move past a disappointing 3-11 record with the Orioles and San Diego Padres in 2015. Norris was 1-3 with a 6.46 ERA in six spring starts for the Braves.


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