Best of MLB: Daniel Murphy's huge night leads Nationals over Cardinals

Best of MLB: Daniel Murphy's huge night leads Nationals over Cardinals

WASHINGTON -- Daniel Murphy homered, doubled twice and tied career highs with five RBIs and four hits and the Washington Nationals defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 8-3 on Tuesday night.

Matt Wieters and Jayson Werth also hit solo shots to help Washington earn a second home series victory.

Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez (1-0) allowed two runs -- one earned -- over seven innings. He allowed six hits before retiring his last 11 batters.

Lance Lynn (0-1) allowed six runs -- four earned -- and five hits and four walks over five innings.

Randal Grichuk and Aldemys Diaz homered for St. Louis.

Bryce Harper walked three times against Lynn to reach base in nine straight plate appearances going back to Monday, tying a career high set last season against the Chicago Cubs and manager Joe Maddon. He also doubled in the eighth (see full recap).

Brantley's walk-off single gives Tribe win in home opener
CLEVELAND -- Michael Brantley doubled home Francisco Lindor with two outs in the 10th inning as the Cleveland Indians celebrated their 2016 AL championship and then beat the Chicago White Sox 2-1 on Tuesday in their home opener.

Brantley could only watch and cheer for his teammates last October during their postseason run after undergoing two surgeries on his right shoulder. But he's healthy now, and after playing in just 11 games last season, Brantley made the most of his first home game since May 10 with his game-winning hit.

Lindor walked with two outs off Tommy Kahnle (0-1) before Brantley sliced a 3-2 pitch down the left-field line. Lindor was running on the pitch and scored easily while Brantley danced around second base before being mobbed by his teammates.

It was the dramatic ending the Indians didn't get in their last home game, a 10-inning loss to the Chicago Cubs in Game 7 of the World Series. Cleveland led the majors with 11 walk-off wins last season.

Bryan Shaw (1-0), who took the loss when the Cubs won their first title in 108 years, got the win (see full recap).

Marlins top Braves with cat on the loose at Marlins Park
MIAMI -- A gray cat went scrambling for cover in the Marlins Park outfield midway through Tuesday night's game, and no wonder, given the barrage off Marcell Ozuna's bat.

Ozuna homered twice and had a career-high six RBIs to help Miami win its home opener against the Atlanta Braves, 8-4.

Announced attendance was 36,519, and that didn't include a cat that ran onto the field midway through the game. It scurried along the outfield warning track, ran away from right fielder Giancarlo Stanton, crawled up the center field wall and then appeared to get stuck in the animatronic home run sculpture.

Marlins president David Samson said if Ozuna had hit a third homer, the sculpture would not have been activated for fear of harming the cat.

Ozuna hit a sacrifice fly in the first inning, a three-run homer in the third and a two-run homer in the fifth, doubling his season RBI total and hiking his average to .423. The two-homer game was the second of his career (see full recap).

Pedroia drives in 4 as Red Sox clobber O's
BOSTON -- Drew Pomeranz struck out six in his season debut and Dustin Pedroia drove in four runs and the Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 8-1 Tuesday night.

Christian Vazquez added a two-run triple in the eighth, capping off a 4-for-4 game, as the Red Sox tagged Baltimore pitchers for 15 hits and had back-to-back three-run innings in the seventh and eighth to blow the game open.

Pomeranz, who opened the season on the disabled list with a strained left forearm, took a shutout into the seventh inning. He held Baltimore to four hits and one run in six innings and picked up his first win at Fenway Park.

Pablo Sandoval had a sacrifice fly in the second and Pedroia had one in the fifth off Dylan Bundy (1-1), who was strong through the first six innings. Bundy pitched 6 1-3 innings, allowing three runs and seven hits (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.