NEW YORK -- Daniel Murphy stood along the wall in the interview room at Citi Field, mixing in with security personnel, writers and cameramen all listening to his teammates, Noah Syndergaard and David Wright, conduct a press conference following Game 2 of the National League Championship Series on Sunday night.
Murphy continued his historic postseason by hitting a two-run first-inning homer Sunday night as the Mets took a two games to none lead in the NLCS by beating the Chicago Cubs 4-1.
"He's about as locked in as I've seen a hitter, and he's carried that out now for, what's it been, seven games?" said Wright, the Mets' captain and third baseman. "That's quite a feat, especially in the playoffs against this pitching."
"This pitching" includes some of the best arms on the planet. Murphy has homered in a franchise-record four consecutive playoff games, and he has five homers overall this postseason, which ties the Mets' all-time record set by Mike Piazza in 1999-2000.
Four of those homers came off in 15 plate appearances against Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta, Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw and Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke, all of whom are likely to finish in the top three in the NL Cy Young Award voting. The trio combined to face 2,603 batters this season and give up 39 homers -- an average of one homer per 67 plate appearances.
"He's hitting them off the best of the best," Mets infielder/outfielder Michael Cuddyer said.
Nobody pitched better lately than Arrieta, who compiled a 0.86 ERA in his final 20 regular-season starts before throwing a five-hit shutout in leading the Cubs past the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NL wild-card game. He had a minor hiccup in the NL Division Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, allowing four runs in 5 2/3 innings, but he still got the win.
On Sunday, though, the Mets scored three runs before Arrieta recorded an out.
Right fielder Curtis Granderson delivered a leadoff single and scored on a double by Wright.
"All of a sudden, you look up after eight to 10 pitches and two batters, we've got a 1-0 lead and David's in scoring position," Murphy said.
Murphy followed with a homer into the right field seats for his second first-inning round-tripper in as many games. His solo shot Saturday gave the Mets a quick lead in what turned out to be a 4-2 victory.
Murphy also contributed to the Mets' fourth run in the third, when Granderson drew a leadoff walk before stealing second and third. With one out, Murphy was intentionally walked to bring up the cleanup batter, center fielder Yoenis Cespedes, who hit 35 homers this season.
"The guy's just seeing the ball really well," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of Murphy. "That's why I walked him as early in the game as we did. I didn't want to mess with it."
Cespedes beat out an infield single to shortstop to bring home Granderson.
"With our pitching staff, you feel if you can strike early and let (them) settle into the game -- as we saw today and yesterday, they just keep throwing up zeros," Murphy said.
Syndergaard, a rookie right-hander, didn't allow a run until his last pitch, which Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant hit to the left field wall for an RBI double in the sixth inning. Syndergaard allowed one run on three hits and one walk while striking out nine in 5 2/3 innings.
"When you can jump out to the lead on (Arrieta), you've got to feel pretty good where you're sitting, and I think it helped Noah relax a little bit," Mets manager Terry Collins said.
Four New York relievers combined on 3 1/3 innings of two-hit ball, with right-hander Jeurys Familia earning his second save in as many nights and his fourth of the postseason with a one-hit ninth.
The Mets will look to close out the Cubs and reach their first World Series since 2000 when the NLCS shifts to Wrigley Field from Tuesday through Thursday for Games 3, 4 and, if necessary, 5.
"You never think that you're going to be fortunate enough to be on a ballclub like this," Murphy said. "You dream of it, to be able to go to work with 24 men in there that are absolutely awesome guys. And I think we're having a lot of fun right now."
A dream season for the Cubs, meanwhile, may be headed for a familiar ending. Chicago must win four of the next five games to reach the World Series for the first time since 1945 and continue its pursuit of the franchise's first championship since 1908.
"We're all about one-game winning streaks," Maddon said. "I really preach daily the one-day-at-a-time approach. I know it's Psycho Babble 101, but it actually works, so all I'm concerned about is the next game."
Arrieta took the loss after giving up four runs on four hits and two walks while striking out eight over five innings. The 4-0 deficit he left the Cubs was the largest Chicago faced with Arrieta on the mound since June 16, which was also the last time he failed to pitch beyond the fifth inning.
NOTES: Mets INF Juan Uribe, who was left off the NL Division Series and NL Championship Series rosters due to a chest injury, fielded grounders during batting practice Sunday. ... Due to a death in the family, Mets LHP Jonathon Niese will travel home to Ohio on Monday's off day. Niese struck out the one batter he faced Sunday. ... Cubs manager Joe Maddon said RHP Kyle Hendricks will start Game 3 on Tuesday. RHP Jason Hammel would start Game 4 as long as he is not needed in relief in Game 3. ... The Cubs won 97 regular-season games, the second most for a wild-card team that advanced to a league championship series. The 2002 Anaheim Angels won 99 games.