WASHINGTON (AP) — 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.
Lynn hadn’t allowed a hit when he walked Gonzalez on four pitches with one out in the third. After a fielding error and a walk to Harper loaded the bases, Murphy ripped a two out-single through the infield to give Washington a 2-1 lead.
Grichuk’s homer tied it in the top of the fourth before Werth and Wieters went deep in the bottom of the inning. Then in the fifth, Lynn walked Harper for the third time before Murphy blasted a 1-2 changeup into the second deck in right to make it 6-2.
Murphy drove in Harper for a second time on an RBI double in the eighth.
BRYCE ON BASE
After going 4 for 4 with two walks in a 14-6 win Monday, Harper’s three walks Tuesday helped him match a stretch from May 7 and 8 of last year. The Cubs and Maddon intentionally walked Harper four times in that stretch, three coming in Harper’s six-walk game on May 8. Harper left the series at Wrigley Field hitting .265. By June 4, the 2015 NL MVP’s average had dipped to .238.
Cardinals: Left-handed hitting 1B Matt Carpenter was out of the starting lineup with back tightness against the lefty Gonzalez, but pinch hit in the ninth inning. “He was good to play today, but with the lefty matchup given the opportunity for Martinez to get in there and have a start,” manager Mike Matheny said.
Nationals: 3B Anthony Rendon began the game on the bench after manager Dusty Baker said he wasn’t sure “if his leg is right 100 percent.” Rendon missed Opening Day with a bruised calf. He came on in the sixth inning to replace Stephen Drew at third.
Cardinals: RHP Mike Leake looks to build upon an eight-inning outing to open the season.
Nationals: Max Scherzer makes his first home start since the right-hander won the 2016 NL Cy Young Award.
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