And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Nationals 5, Diamondbacks 4: That Nationals have won seven in a row, with the last three being of the walkoff variety. This time courtesy of Adam LaRoche’s homer in the 11th inning. Leading up to it was a lot of fun: Wilson Ramos put the Nationals in front in the bottom of the seventh inning with a two-run homer and the Dbacks went back into the lead when Didi Gregorius did the same in the top of the eighth. The Nats came back in the ninth only to see Tyler Clippard blow the save in the ninth. In the Arizona half of the 11th they loaded the bases with no one out and then didn’t score, which is about the most annoying thing on the planet. If anything the LaRoche homer put them out of their misery.

Cubs 4, Mets 1: Kyle Hendricks and two relievers combined to allow one run on four hits and got all the support they’d need thanks to homers from Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez. The three of them will, hopefully for Cubs fans, represent a winning combination for years and years.

Angels 4, Red Sox 2: Mike Trout and Albert Pujols hit RBI doubles. The Sox threatened in the ninth against fill-in closer Kevin Jepsen, but Jepsen worked around trouble, allowing only one run to score.

Orioles 8, White Sox 2: An uncharacteristically poor outing for Chris Sale, who needed 121 pitches just to make it through six. The O’s took advantage, led by Nick Markakis who was 3 for 5 with a homer. He also had a pretty darn swell catch.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $125,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Tuesday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $15,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on TuesdayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Phillies 4, Mariners 1: Jerome Williams allowed one run and three hits while pitching into the eighth. Andres Blanco had a three-run homer. Before coming up at the end of June, Blanco had not played in the majors since 2011.

Royals 6, Twins 4: Erik Kratz came in to replace Sal Perez in the seventh and homered twice. That’s kinda how it’s been going for the Royals. Jason Vargas allowed one run on four hits in seven innings.

Braves 7, Pirates 3: Six runs in the first — kicked off by back-to-back homers from Jason Heyward and Andrelton Simmons to lead things off — pretty much ended this one before it started. Six in a row dropped by the Pirates. Whose season looks like it could be ending before it’s even technically finished.

Cardinals 6, Reds 5: Jhonny Peralta hit a walkoff single in the tenth. This after Trevor Rosenthal blew the save in the ninth. Jay Bruce homered, doubled and drove in four in a winning effort in a losing effort.

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.