And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Braves 9, Phillies 6: This one was gonzo. A pitchers duel for seven innings, with Ervin Santana striking out 11 in six and Roberto Hernandez only allowing two himself. Then all hell broke loose. The Braves hit back-to-back-to-back homers in the eighth to go up 5-1, the Phillies socked back at ’em for five runs in the bottom of the inning to go up 6-5 and then the Braves scoring four more on a Dan Uggla grand slam in the ninth to win it. Two homers for Uggla. Two for Evan Gattis. No-shows from Jonathan Papelbon, who has pitched a lot lately, and Craig Kimbrel, who hasn’t, but had a sore shoulder. A leadoff four-pitch walk to B.J. Upton in the ninth, which I’m pretty sure is classified as a crime against humanity. Really, if gamblers were orchestrating this game it wouldn’t have gone off any less crazy than it did. Man, baseball is fun.

Oh, almost forgot. Check out the line of the pitcher who got the win for the Braves:

source:

Yeah, baby. Wins!

Cardinals 4, Brewers 0:  Jhonny Peralta with a solo shot and Jon Jay with a three-run bomb. Some of my correspondents told me that the Cardinals broadcasters (a) criticized Carlos Gomez for “swinging too hard” in the early innings, as if that were some sort of Cardinals-special unwritten rules violation; and (b) were getting on Ryan Braun’s case for PEDs while Peralta sat there in Cardinal red hitting bombs with no criticism whatsoever. I need confirmation on this, folks. Because if it’s true, the Cardinals have gone way beyond self-parody.

Nationals 9, Marlins 2: Two doubles and an RBI for Bryce Harper and Jordan Zimmerman rebounded from a bad start against Miami last week. The Marlins have dropped eight straight, which sorta kills that “the Marlins are frisky!” storyline I and many others were partial to in the early going.

Orioles 7, Rays 1: Wei-Yin Chen allowed one run in six and a third and the O’s teed off on Chris Archer. Matt Wieters and J.J. Hardy each had three hits. The O’s built a 6-0 lead early and had 13 hits total, including five doubles.

Pirates 7, Reds 7: SUSPENDED: Following a metric butt-ton of rain and soggy conditions, they’ll pick this one up at 5:30 PM today before the scheduled game this evening. As it stand now, ten homers have been hit in this incomplete game, including two by Gaby Sanchez and two by Neil Walker.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk‘s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $60,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Tuesday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $8,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on TuesdayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Mariners 7, Rangers 1: Colby Lewis ran out of gas in the sixth and then once he was gone his defense ran out of skillz. Seattle scored six runs on six hits and three errors that inning and that was all she wrote.

Athletics 3, Angels 2: John Jaso hit a pinch-hit two-run homer in the ninth off Angels closer Ernesto Frieri. He has done this sort of thing against the Angels before. I’d call him an “Angel killer” but that seems so dark and evil. Here’s what he said after the game:

“Donaldson hit that ball hard to start off the inning, and it kind of started there,” Jaso said. “I think Cespy just missed a pitch, too, so we definitely had some good swings going and some good momentum against Frieri.

Wait, he calles Yoenis Cespedes “Cespy?” OK, he’s even more evil than an Angel killer. That’s just the worst.

Mets 7, Diamondbacks 3: A win, but a costly one as both Curtis Granderson and Juan Lagares left the game with injuries. Lagares’ is more serious — a hamstring — while Granderson just banged his forearm against the wall. In brighter news, the Mets rattled off 13 hits against the Dbacks, who have been just awful so far this year.

Padres 5, Rockies 4: The second time in less than a week we’ve had a game decided by a wild pitch/bad throw back to the pitcher covering home/two runs score play. This happened in the eighth, with Rockies pitcher Rex Brothers on the mound. Best part: he walked the bases loaded with two outs first to set up the clown shoes ending. So no, not the best night for that guy.

Justin Turner is a postseason monster

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A not-insignificant amount of the Dodgers’ success in recent years has to do with the emergence of Justin Turner. In his first five seasons with the Orioles and Mets, he was a forgettable infielder who had versatility, but no power. The Mets non-tendered him after the 2013 season, a move they now really regret.

In four regular seasons since, as a Dodger, Turner has hit an aggregate .303/.378/.502. His 162-game averages over those four seasons: 23 home runs, 36 doubles, 83 RBI, 80 runs scored. And he’s also a pretty good third baseman, it turns out. The Dodgers have averaged 95 wins per season over the past four years.

Turner, 32, has gotten better and better with each passing year. This year, he drew more walks (59) than strikeouts (56), a club only five other players (min. 300 PA) belonged to, and he trailed only Joey Votto (1.61) in BB/K ratio (1.05). He zoomed past his previous career-high in OPS, finishing at .945. His .415 on-base percentage was fourth-best in baseball. His batting average was fifth-best and only nine points behind NL batting champion Charlie Blackmon.

It doesn’t seem possible, but Turner has been even better in the postseason. He exemplified that with his walk-off home run to win Game 2 of the NLCS against the Cubs. Overall, entering Wednesday night’s action, he was batting .363/.474/.613 in 97 postseason plate appearances. In Game 4, he went 2-for-2 with two walks, a single, and a solo home run. That increases his postseason slash line to .378/.495/.659, now across 101 plate appearances. That’s a 1.154 OPS. The career-high regular season OPS for future first-ballot Hall of Famer Albert Pujols was 1.114 in 2008, when he won his third career MVP Award. Statistically, in the postseason, Turner hits slightly better than Pujols did in the prime of his career. Of course, we should adjust for leagues and parks and all that, but to even be in that neighborhood is incredible.

In the age of stats, the concept of “clutch” has rightfully eroded. We don’t really allow players to ascend to godlike levels anymore like the way we did Derek Jeter, for instance. (Jeter’s career OPS in the playoffs, by the way, was a comparatively pitiful .838.) Turner isn’t clutch; he’s just a damn good hitter whose careful approach at the plate has allowed him to shine in the postseason and the Dodgers can’t imagine life without him.