Associated Press

And That Happened: Monday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Indians 6, Yankees 2: Jose Ramirez homered twice and Carlos Santana and Austin Jackson each went deep as well, backing Corey Kluber‘s eight innings of two-run ball. His counterpart, Luis Severino, only gave up four hits but three of them were homers which, well, yeah.

Orioles 7, Mariners 6: Adam Jones hit a home run in the fifth inning gave him 25 on the year. That makes it the seventh consecutive season of at least 25 homers for him, passing Cal Ripken, Jr. for the new Orioles record. He did it against the team that traded him away when he was 22 years-old. Bill Bavasi — the GM who traded him, Chris Tillman, Geroge Sherrill and two prospects for an Erik Bedard who would almost immediately fall off a cliff and who has now been retired for nearly three years — was fired four months later and has never been a GM again. He is now the director of the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau, where he manages dozens of scouts who likely could’ve told him that it was a bad move to trade Jones if they had been asked. I wonder if they still mention it to him. I would, but then again I’ve always been kind of a pain to my bosses. Anyway, that’s five wins in a row for the Orioles, who pass the Mariners and pull a game and a half behind the Twins for the final AL wild-card spot.

Nationals 11, Marlins 2: Max Scherzer came back off the disabled list and allowed only one run on five hits and struck out ten over seven innings. Two of those Ks were of Giancarlo Stanton, who went 0-for-3. Guessing Scherzer feels OK.

Phillies 6, Braves 1: Rhys Hoskins didn’t homer — is he OK? Can someone check on him? — but he did go 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Cameron Rupp hit a solo homer and drew a bases-loaded walk. The Phillies beat the Braves again. They have beaten the Braves in 12 of 14 games this year including all eight played in Philly.

Red Sox 6, Blue Jays 5: Christian Vazquez had four hits, including a two-run home run, Eduardo Nunez added a solo shot and the Red Sox broke their four-game losing streak. But I don’t wanna talk about that. I wanna talk about how Kevin Pillar is just a stupidly, ridiculously good center fielder:

Straight line path to that ball, full spring plus the extension. Just preposterous.

Cubs 6, Pirates 1: Mike Montgomery shut the Pirates out through seven innings, allowing his only run of the game via a solo homer to the first man he faced in the eighth. The Cubs were already up 5-0 by the time that happened, however, thanks in part to Montgomery, who reached on an infield single and later scored. Montgomery has allowed one run over 13 innings in his last two starts. He’ll probably be sent back to the pen when Jon Lester gets healthy, but the Cubs do have an option if they don’t like the look of their rotation heading down the stretch and into the playoffs.

Rays 12, Royals 0: The Royals have now been shut out for four straight games and for 43 straight innings, stretching back to the second inning of their game against the Rockies last Thursday. If Alex Cobb can shut them out for the first five innings tonight Kansas City will break a record currently held by the 1968 Chicago Cubs and the 1906 Philadelphia Athletics. As for this one, it was Austin Pruitt, who shut them out one one hit for six innings, and Matt Andriese who shut them out for three innings on a single hit as well. Offensively, the Rays were led by Logan Morrison who hit a three-run homer and doubled in a fourth. Lucas Duda hit a three-run shot. The Greater Kansas City Area hasn’t seen an annihilation like this since November 20, 1983.

Tigers 4, Rockies 3Nicholas Castellanos hit a two-run triple and an RBI single on his 3-for-4 night and Brad Ausmus deployed six pitchers to win a close game. Miguel Cabrera left the game in the fifth with a bad back. He’s had a bad back all year, really, and I suspect it’s that, as opposed to natural decline, that has led to his disappointing season. Of course bad backs are probably a pretty big part of a lot of players’ natural decline, so perhaps the distinction is without difference.

Angels 3, Athletics 1Andrew Heaney allowed one run on only two hits while striking out ten over six and the Angels mustered just enough offense on a night where the slumping Mike Trout — who is 0-for-his-last-17 — was scratched with a stiff neck.

Giants 3, Padres 0Jeff Samardzija tossed a three-hit shutout, striking out five. All three hits were infield singles. Brandon Crawford hit a solo homer. Joe Panik hit a two-run homer, scoring Crawford. So, like, three dudes beat the Padres.

By the way, the Associated Press game story refers to Samardzija as “the former Notre Dame wide receiver.” Which, yes, is true, but I question whether now, as he is close to completing his tenth big league season, is really necessary anymore. Unless, of course, “odd thing a person did in college” is now a necessary identifier. It’d be kind of cool if it was. That way people could refer to me as “Craig Calcaterra, the former Ohio State University Bookstore employee, who sold Apple Newtons to people at the electronics counter, claiming that they were AMAZING, when they were really overpriced trash . . . ”

Actually, yes, please refer to me that way going forward. It’s probably my greatest professional accomplishment. Imagine: convincing someone to buy an Apple Newton!

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.