Associated Press

And That Happened: Monday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Dodgers 8, Rockies 2: Joc Pederson hit two homers, Max Muncy hit a three-run shot and Los Angeles moves back into first place. The win not only pushes the Rockies out of first, but out of playoff position as the Cardinals win allowed them to leap Colorado into the second Wild Card spot. At least those three teams are giving us some late season playoff drama, such as it is. Even worse news for the Rockies than the loss was the loss of Trevor Story, who hurt his elbow on a throw in the first inning and later aggravated it on a swing in the fourth, forcing him out of the game. He will have tests today, but suffice it to say, if the Rockies are going to stay in this thing they’re gonna need Story.

Brewers 8, Reds 0: Christian Yelich hit for the cycle for the second time in three weeks, with both of those cycles coming against the Reds. He singled in the first inning, doubled in the third, hit a two-run home run in the fifth, and completed the cycle with a two-run triple in the sixth. He is only the fifth player to hit for the cycle twice in a season and is the first in baseball history to do it twice in the same season against the same team. Yelich is now hitting .318/.385/.570 with 31 home runs, 93 RBI, 102 runs scored, and 19 stolen bases in 597 plate appearances, which is some MVP stuff. In other news, Wade Miley tossed five shutout innings and the pen handled the rest, limiting the Reds to eight hits overall.

Mariners 4, Astros 1: Wade LeBlanc and four relievers combined to hold Houston to one run on three hits, but that one run held up until the eighth inning, with Houston clinging to the smallest of margins. Daniel Vogelbach came in as a pinch hitter that inning, however, with the bases loaded, and launched a grand slam over the fence in right center. With that Seattle takes the lead in their season series with the Astros, 9-8. Which ain’t the playoffs, but I suppose it’s something. The loss cut Houston’s lead in the AL West to four games over Oakland so, maybe, it’s the stuff of being a spoiler?

Cardinals 11, Braves 6Kolten WongPaul DeJongHarrison Bader and Yadier Molina all hit homers for the Cardinals whose win, combined with the Rockies’ loss to the Dodgers, put the Cardinals back into position for the second Wild Card. The Braves, meanwhile, have lost three in a row, but it didn’t matter as much as it could’ve given that Philly lost to the Mets, reducing Atlanta’s magic number to seven. Not that their play of late should give them much confidence assuming they do win the division. Their pitching has been bad, giving out walks like they’re candy on Halloween.

Blue Jays 5, Orioles 0: Ryan Borucki pitched eight innings of shutout ball and three Jays — Danny Jansen, Kevin Pillar and Aledmys Diaz — homered. The Orioles’ 107th loss ties their 1988 mark for the most losses in Orioles history. It’s only the third time the team has lost 100 games, with the first time being in their inaugural season in Baltimore back in 1954. If you include the St. Louis Browns years, you have to go back to 1939 and that club’s 111-loss season for a year this bad. They lost 107 in 1910 and 1911 too. Those latter three teams only played 154-game seasons, but still, this is an historic club.

Mets 9, Phillies 4: Michael Conforto went 3-for-5 with an RBI single, and RBI double and a homer, driving in six. Zack Wheeler allowed four runs over seven innings to pick up his ninth win since the All-Star break and 14th in all. In the second half Wheeler is 9-1 with a 1.68 ERA in 11 starts.

Pirates 7, Royals 6: This game went back and forth but the Royals had a two-run lead in the eight when Ed Ryan O'Hearn hit a solo homer. The Pirates were not done, however, as they tied it in their half of the eighth with a Pablo Reyes single and a Starlin Marte RBI triple. Rookie catcher Jacob Stallings ended things with a walkoff single in the ninth.

Twins 6, Tigers 1: The Twins scored four runs in the fourth and were never challenged. Kohl Stewart didn’t start — the Twins used an opened — but he took over and worked through the seventh allowing only an unearned run on three hits.

Marlins 8, Nationals 5: Washington led 4-0 after three but blew that lead with Miami’s go-ahead run scoring on a balk of all things. Washington would tie it up again but then Lewis Brinson hit a tiebreaking RBI single in the seventh. Starlin Castro had a homer and three RBI for the Fish.

Rays 3, Rangers 0: Tyler Glasnow pitched six shutout innings allowing only two hits — both infield singles — and Adam KolarekJose Alvarado and Sergio Romo each tossed a scoreless inning to complete the combined two-hitter. They were backed by Ji-Man Choi‘s homer and an RBI single. The Rays have been on absolute fire for a month.

Cubs 5, Diamondbacks 1: Kyle Hendricks took a shutout into the ninth inning but gave up a homer to A.J. Pollock and that was that. That was still an easy win, though, as two-run homers from Javy Baez and Kris Bryant gave the Cubs a comfy margin by then.

Giants 4, Padres 2:  Brandon Crawford and Evan Longoria homered and Andrew Suarez pitched into the eighth allowing two runs on four hits. The Padres lost their 91st game, which was how many they lost last year. They lost 94 the year before. A lot of Padres fans will, quite correctly, note that A.J. Preller has built a nice farm system and that it’s still a rebuild in progress, but at some point the Padres need to give fans who don’t follow minor league system rankings and who don’t bone up on their prospects lists each spring a reason to care.

This Day in Transaction History: Phillies acquire John Kruk from Padres

John Kruk
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John Kruk is one of the more underrated hitters in baseball history. Kruk, who is currently a broadcaster for the Phillies, had a 10-year career during which he hit exactly 100 homers, batted exactly .300, and posted an excellent .397 on-base percentage. In baseball history, there are only 32 members of the admittedly arbitrary 100/.300/.395+ club. Kruk is one of only 10 members of the club that played after 1963. The others: Mike Trout, Joey Votto, Todd Helton, Chipper Jones, Manny Ramírez, Frank Thomas, Larry Walker, Edgar Martinez, and Wade Boggs. Of them, five are Hall of Famers. Trout and Votto will be, and Helton and Ramírez should be.

On this day in 1989, the Phillies made a franchise-altering trade, acquiring Kruk along with infielder Randy Ready from the Padres in exchange for outfielder Chris James. The Padres had just swept the Phillies at home and were hoping to jump into the playoff race. They immediately went into a losing skid, but caught fire at the end of the season, finishing 89-73. However, that wasn’t good enough as the Giants won the NL West with a 92-70 record. James was solid for the Padres, posting a .743 OPS with 11 homers and 46 RBI in 87 games.

Kruk had an interesting but brief major league career with the Padres. His roommate, Roy Plummer, was an armed robber. Kruk was completely unaware of this. In spring training of 1988, the FBI informed Kruk of his roommates’ activities. Kruk feared retribution from Plummer and said that the anxiety affected his baseball performance. In 1988, Kruk batted what was for him a poor .241/.369/.362 with nine homers and 44 RBI over 466 plate appearances.

The Phillies didn’t enjoy immediate success upon Kruk’s arrival in 1989. The club finished the season with a losing record and would do the same in the ensuing three seasons. None of it was Kruk’s fault, though: in aggregate, from 1990-92, he hit .303/.393/.459, earning two All-Star nominations. In this span of time, the only other first basemen to hit above .300 were Frank Thomas, Paul Molitor, Hal Morris, and Rafael Palmeiro. The Padres had used Kruk both in the corner outfield and at first base, but the Phillies made him a full-time first baseman, which turned out to be a good move.

In 1993, everything came together for the Phillies and Kruk had what was arguably the greatest season of his career. He hit .316, which was actually seven points below his average the previous year, but he drew 111 walks to push his on-base percentage up to .430. Kruk hit third in the lineup, creating plenty of RBI opportunities for Dave Hollins in the clean-up spot, Darren Daulton at No. 5, and the trio of Jim Eisenreich, Pete Incaviglia, and Wes Chamberlain in the No. 6 spot. The Phillies shocked the world in ’93, winning the NL East by three games over the Expos with a 97-65 record. They then dispatched the Braves in six games in the NLCS to advance to the World Series against the Blue Jays.

Kruk was productive in the NLCS, contributing six hits including a pair of doubles, a triple, a home run, four walks, five RBI, and four runs scored. But he turned things up a notch in the World Series, registering multi-hit performances in the first three games. He would finish the World Series with eight hits in 23 at-bats along with seven walks, four RBI, and four runs scored. The World Series was winnable for the Phillies as they lost a barnburner Game 4 15-14, and of course, dropped the deciding Game 6 on a World Series-clinching walk-off three-run home run by Joe Carter off of Mitch Williams.

1994 was tough on Kruk in many ways. He was diagnosed with testicular cancer in spring training. Knee issues continued to bother him, and then Major League Baseball had a work stoppage. In an abbreviated season, Kruk hit a still-productive .823 OPS. He became a free agent and, when baseball came back, he signed with the White Sox. In the first inning of a July 30 game against the Orioles in ’95, Kruk singled to left field off of Scott Erickson. He reached first base, bowed to the fans, and walked off the field into retirement. Kruk told the media, “The desire to compete at this level is gone. When that happens, it’s time to go.”

Kruk has spent his post-playing days working in sports media as both a broadcaster (Phillies, ESPN nationally) and as a commentator (The Best Damn Sports Show Period, Baseball Tonight). The Phillies inducted him into their Wall of Fame in August 2011. One wonders if Kruk hadn’t been bit by the injury bug, and if there hadn’t been a work stoppage, if he might have been able to accrue some more numbers to have a borderline Hall of Fame case. Regardless, he’ll go down as one of the games’ quietly great hitters.