Getty Images

And That Happened: Saturday’s Scores and Highlights

2 Comments

Here are the rest of Saturday’s scores and highlights:

Blue Jays 7, Pirates 2: Chris Rowley got his first taste of the majors this weekend, holding the Pirates to a single run over 5 1/3 innings and making history as the only West Point graduate to break into Major League Baseball.

Despite ranking fourth-to-last among Major League teams in run production, the Blue Jays scrounged together seven runs of support for their starter, capitalizing on a a pair of force outs and fielding errors to build a five-run lead and clinch their 55th win of the year.

Red Sox 10, Yankees 5: Andrew Benintendi was the one-man wrecking crew the Red Sox needed on Saturday, mashing two three-run jacks as the team coasted to their first win of the series.

Benintendi’s two-homer, six-RBI performance was hardly the worst thing to happen to the Yankees this weekend. Luis Severino was tagged for 10 hits and eight runs over 4 2/3 innings, his worst start of the season to date, while Masahiro Tanaka landed on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation and Jordan Montgomery took a line drive to the head prior to the game.

Indians 3, Rays 0: Chris Archer has been the picture of consistency for the Rays, lasting at least six innings in each of his previous 15 starts. That streak came to an abrupt end with the Indians’ surge on Saturday, forcing Archer to bow out early after pitching into a jam after 5 1/3 innings. With the loss, the Rays sit pat at .500 and remain one full game back of an AL wild card spot.

Tigers 12, Twins 11: The Tigers went big in their second win of the week, staging an impressive six-run rally to topple the second-place Twins. Brian McCann helped the team to an early five-run lead in the first inning, destroying a Jose Berrios curveball with his first grand slam of the season, but Justin Upton‘s late-game heroics proved the difference-maker for the Tigers after he smashed a game-winning two-RBI home run in the ninth:

Phillies 3, Mets 1: The Phillies’ win, on the other hand, was anything but a slugfest as Steven Matz crafted four innings of a no-hitter and Aaron Nola clinched his 10th consecutive quality start. Yoenis Cespedes collected a lone home run against Nola for the Mets’ first and only run of the night, while a couple of mistake pitches to Cesar Hernandez and Freddy Galvis gave the Phillies the edge they needed.

Nationals 3, Giants 1: After a rainout on Friday and a three-hour delay on Saturday, the Nats and Giants finally got a chance to face off in a late-night series opener. The field was dry enough for the contest, but not dry enough to prevent Bryce Harper from slipping on first base while attempting to beat out an infield single.

The Nationals rallied without their star slugger, putting up a two-spot in the first inning and returning in the sixth to cap their win with Adam Lind‘s RBI double.

Brewers 6, Reds 5 (10 innings): Every streak has to find an endpoint sometime, and on Saturday, the Brewers’ six-game losing streak found theirs. Milwaukee bested their division rivals with five airtight innings from the bullpen and a walk-off wild pitch to score Eric Sogard in the 10th:

Marlins 4, Rockies 3: If the rumors are true, the Marlins’ home run sculpture will be on the chopping block once the Sherman-Jeter group assumes control of the team. Unless the Marlins have something even gaudier in the works, that means we have precious few moments left to enjoy Giancarlo Stanton dingers commemorated in full Technicolor spectacle and glory:

Royals 5, White Sox 4: Most hitters undergo a protracted adjustment period when they begin to face big league competitors, but Jose Abreu just isn’t one of them. The White Sox’ first baseman cranked two home runs in a 5-4 loss to the Royals on Saturday night, becoming the first player in franchise history to start his career with four consecutive 20+ homer seasons.

Melky Cabrera, meanwhile, reminded his former team exactly what they’re missing after unleashing a tie-breaking 397-footer in the eighth to snap the Royals’ five-game losing streak.

Rangers 8, Astros 3: Rotation issues continue to plague the Astros, whose 12-game lead in the AL West masks this week’s five-game skid. The latest culprit: Mike Fiers, who exited in the fifth inning after issuing six runs on five hits and four walks. The Rangers’ Tyson Ross fared little better, registering three runs and five walks over 5 2/3 innings, but was bailed out by an explosive performance from the offense, including three RBI from Adrian Beltre and a pair of home runs from Brett Nicholas and Mike Napoli.

Diamondbacks 6, Cubs 2: Good luck catching David Peralta at the plate — or anywhere else on the basepaths, for that matter. The Diamondbacks’ left fielder clocked an inside-the-park home run in 15.59 seconds to secure the win on Saturday night, beating the relay from Ian Happ and narrowly avoiding Alex Avila‘s tag at the plate.

The Cubs broke through in the ninth on Kris Bryant‘s two-run single, but failed to close the four-run gap and tie the game. With the loss, the club relinquished sole possession of first place in the NL Central after 15 consecutive days at the top of the standings.

Cardinals 6, Braves 5: Thanks to an eight-game win streak, another solid outing from Carlos Martinez and the blessings of the Rally Kitten, the Cardinals are back on top of the division for the first time since May 16. Martinez evened his win-loss record with six innings of three-run, seven-strikeout ball, while the Cardinals turned to Paul DeJong for the tie-breaking knock:

Orioles 12, Athletics 5: You know what they say: It only takes one seven-run inning to win the game. The Orioles wasted no time booting Sean Manaea from the mound on Saturday, batting around in the first and collecting seven straight bases before the A’s managed to record the first out of the game.

When the dust settled, the Orioles were standing atop a seven-run lead, one that catapulted them to their 58th win of the season and brought them within 1.5 games of a wild card spot.

Angels 6, Mariners 3: Speaking of the AL wild card race, the Mariners dropped out of the running with their third straight loss on Saturday, despite a strong performance from Erasmo Ramirez and Kyle Seager‘s two-RBI effort. Ramirez went six innings on three hits and an unearned run, but couldn’t do much to prevent Tony Zych from imploding in the eighth:

Dodgers 6, Padres 3: Don’t look now, but Cody Bellinger is one home run shy of breaking a franchise record. The rookie first baseman smashed his 34th homer on Saturday, taking Carter Capps deep in the seventh inning to pad the club’s two-run lead. Another blast will tie him with the Dodgers’ all-time rookie home run record set by Mike Piazza in 1993.

It’s been a banner year for the team as a whole after they amassed a league-leading 82 wins on Saturday, reaching the 82-win mark faster than any National League team since the 1944 Cardinals.

Justin Turner is a postseason monster

Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.