Best of MLB: Bumgarner homers twice, but Diamondbacks win on walk-off single

Best of MLB: Bumgarner homers twice, but Diamondbacks win on walk-off single

PHOENIX -- Chris Owings singled home the winning run and the Arizona Diamondbacks scored twice with two outs in the ninth inning off new San Francisco closer Mark Melancon to beat the Giants 6-5 in a wild season opener Sunday.

Derailed by a dreadful bullpen last year, the Giants started this season the same way -- even after trying to fix the problem by bringing in Melancon on a $62 million, four-year contract as a free agent. They wasted a record-breaking performance by pitcher Madison Bumgarner, who homered twice and retired his first 16 batters.

Arizona got a double and three singles after Melancon (0-1) retired the first two batters in the ninth. A.J. Pollock singled in the tying run and Owings dumped a base hit into right field to end it.

Bumgarner became the first pitcher to hit two home runs on opening day.

Grichuk, Cardinals top Cubs in wild opener
ST. LOUIS -- Randal Grichuk hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning and a game-ending RBI single in the ninth, helping the St. Louis Cardinals top the Chicago Cubs 4-3 in a wild prime-time opener on Sunday night.

Jose Martinez sparked the winning rally with a pinch-hit double against Mike Montgomery, who closed out Chicago's World Series championship in November.

Yadier Molina then was awarded the first no-pitch intentional walk in major league history, part of baseball's offseason rule changes designed to speed up the game.

With two outs and the bases loaded, Grichuk lined a 1-2 pitch into the gap in left-center for his second career game-ending hit. He was mobbed as he rounded first in the rain, and what was left of a sellout crowd of 47,566 cheered wildly (see full recap).

Archer outduels Tanaka as Rays win MLB opener vs. Yankees
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Chris Archer pitched seven solid innings and the Tampa Bay Rays won the first game of the new Major League Baseball season, roughing up Masahiro Tanaka and beating the New York Yankees 7-3 Sunday.

Evan Longoria and Logan Morrison homered and drove in three runs apiece before a sellout crowd of 31,042 at Tropicana Field on opening day. Tanaka, who had baseball's ERA in spring training, was tagged for a career-worst seven earned runs in 2 2/3 innings.

A first-time All-Star in 2015 who lost an AL-leading 19 times last season, Archer limited New York to two runs and seven hits. He narrowly escaped a bases-loaded jam and turned a five-run lead over to a revamped bullpen.

Closer Alex Colome replaced rookie Austin Pruitt with the bases loaded in the ninth, yielding a sacrifice fly to pinch hitter Chris Carter before finishing for a save (see full recap).

Report: Maikel Franco 'more than available' in trade talks

Report: Maikel Franco 'more than available' in trade talks

With just over a month to go before the July 31 trade deadline and the Phillies well in the league's basement, Matt Klentak is reportedly looking to the future. 

The Phillies have made underachieving third baseman Maikel Franco "more than available" in trade talks, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.

In a make-or-break year for the 24-year-old, Franco has struggled mightily, slashing just .221/.280/.645 and has grounded into the most double plays in all of MLB. 

As CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury wrote during spring training, if Franco doesn't show promise and improvement in 2017, the Phillies could target Manny Machado as their third baseman of the future in free agency this offseason.

As Salisbury has long said, the Phillies are unsure if Franco is a future building block and a trade is possible.

If the Phillies were to trade Franco before the deadline, they sure would be selling low on a player who has shown spurts of consistent power hitting.

Phillies-Diamondbacks 5 things: Erratic Hellickson facing his former team

Phillies-Diamondbacks 5 things: Erratic Hellickson facing his former team

Phillies (24-49) at Diamondbacks (47-28)
4:10 p.m. on CSN; streaming live on CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports App

After Friday's victory, the Phillies couldn't keep the good times rolling, losing 9-2 to the Diamondbacks on Saturday night. Jeremy Hellickson will take on his former team in Game 3 of the four-game set, opposing spot starter Randall Delgado.

Here are five things to know for Sunday afternoon:

1. Hellickson vs. his former 'mates
A year after he was traded by his original franchise, the Tampa Bay Rays, Hellickson was dealt by the D-backs on Nov. 14, 2015 to the Phillies for minor leaguer Sam McWilliams. 

McWilliams is a 21-year-old righty in Single A for the D-backs right now, but his value is basically a bonus for Arizona: Hellickson was basically salary dumped on the Phillies, who bought low on the veteran righty.

While the 30-year-old lost his only start against Arizona last season, he went seven innings while allowing just three runs. And he provided a fair amount of value to the Phillies, pitching to a 3.71 ERA over 189 innings. 

He leads the team with 15 starts this season, but he hasn't lived up to the promise of last season nor the qualifying offer he signed in the offseason. He has a 4.61 ERA and has allowed 16 home runs in 84 innings, all while watching his strikeout rate dwindle to a career-low. 

Hellickson is actually coming off one of his better starts this year. He allowed just one run to the Cardinals in seven innings, even striking out four batters. He left with the game tied, but the Phillies' bullpen surrendered seven runs in a loss. The veteran righty hasn't won a start since May 19.

Hellickson has relatively good numbers against the current Diamondbacks squad, buoyed by a 1 for 11 mark from backup catcher Jeff Mathis. Paul Goldschmidt is 0 for 2 with three walks and a HBP against him, while Jake Lamb is 2 for 3 with a home run.

2. Randall on the spot
Delgado has seen his role on the D-backs staff flip-flop over the last month. He's moved from the bullpen to the rotation back to the bullpen.

And now he's back in the rotation. 

Delgado is making a spot start to keep the pitching staff fresh in the middle of a stretch where the team plays 13 games in 13 nights. He's not unfamiliar to starting, having worked in the Braves' rotation to begin his career. However, he started just once in the 2015 and 2016 seasons combined before making four starts this season. 

In his four starts, he was 0-1 with a 3.15 ERA over 20 innings, striking out 20. He threw just 25 pitches in his last appearance, which came in a two-inning relief appearance on June 21. He was stretched out to more than 90 pitches as a starter, but he will be 16 days removed from his last start. Therefore, the D-backs' bullpen will be on notice.

Delgado hasn't started against the Phillies since 2013 and holds a 3.29 ERA over 27 1/3 innings in nine total appearances against them. No current Phillie has faced him more than six times with Howie Kendrick going 0 for 5 with a walk against the righty. Maikel Franco is 3 for 3 with two home runs and a double.

3. The road ahead
Sunday's contest will be just the third game of a nine-game road trip for the Phillies. On Monday, they play the wraparound series finale against the D-backs and their ace, Zack Greinke, before traveling to Seattle for a two-game series.

The Phillies haven't played at Safeco Field since June 17-19, 2011. In that three-game set, the Phils lost two of three. The winning pitchers for the Mariners in that series, Michael Pineda and Jason Vargas, have been solid this season in the American League, albeit for the Yankees and Royals respectively. 

After the quick two-game set, the Phillies will play three games at Citi Field before returning home. The Phillies are 2-4 against the Mets, who they haven't faced since April. The Mets are just 33-41 this season and could field an All-Star team with their disabled list. 

Once the road trip ends, the Phillies play a pair of lackluster teams in the Pirates and Padres for seven games at Citizens Bank Park before the All-Star break. The Pirates are 35-40 while the Padres are 31-44. 

4. Players to watch
Phillies
: Freddy Galvis has picked up at least two hits for the fourth straight game. The switch-hitting shortstop has gone 9 for 18 with three doubles, one triple and a homer during that stretch.

Diamondbacks: After going 1 for 4 with a walk and a run scored on Saturday, Paul Goldschmidt is batting .331/.448/.610 on the season. That line has All-Star written all over it.

5. This and that
• Ben Lively became the first Phillies pitcher to hit a home run since Chad Billingsley vs. the Mets in 2015. Bet you didn't expect a Billingsley reference in these game notes!

• Saturday was the Phillies' first loss at Chase Field since Aug. 11, 2015. The starter for the D-backs in that game? Jeremy Hellickson.

• Going into Saturday, the Diamondbacks rotation led all of baseball with 9.5 Wins Above Replacement and a 3.51 ERA.