Turner produces vs. everyone, not just Mets
Infielder has been great for Dodgers since New York non-tendered him in 2013
NEW YORK -- Not since Brooklyn let the Dodgers go has this region given Los Angeles a gift like Justin Turner.
Non-tendered by the Mets after the 2013 season, the Dodgers third baseman gave the Mets some direct payback Friday night with a home run and a pair of doubles to help make Ian Thomas' first Major League start a winning one, 7-2.
Turner diplomatically explained the satisfaction he felt in contributing to a win over his former team of four seasons.
"Yeah, I think for any player, if you ask them, it always feels great to get hits against your former team," said Turner. "I don't feel I have to prove anything to them. I don't play for them anymore. I try to prove to my teammates and coaching staff and organization that I deserve the opportunity."
That's what the Dodgers gave Turner, an opportunity, when no other club was interested. They signed him just before Spring Training of 2014 started, and not even to a Major League contract.
He's only gone on to become the best non-roster invite position player the Dodgers have ever signed. He made the club out of Spring Training, hit himself off the bench and into a platoon role, then played so well this year that he won the starting job and made Juan Uribe expendable. Uribe was traded to the Braves in May and then was acquired by the Mets from Atlanta on Friday.
Turner is hitting a team-high .327 with 13 home runs and 43 RBIs (second on the club to Adrian Gonzalez's 60). He's set a career high in homers and is eight shy of his career high for RBIs. He's been clutch with runners on base and especially tough against right-handed pitchers.
Manager Don Mattingly said he couldn't say Turner was any more motivated to beat the Mets than any other team, because he's been hitting like this all year.
"It seems when guys go from one team to another, they have something to prove," Mattingly said. "But I can't say he's any different today than he was in Atlanta [earlier in the week]."
In his last six games, Turner is 13-for-24 (.542), and he is hitting .361 in July.
Turner wasn't alone in providing Thomas with support. After Turner's homer led off the third inning, Scott Van Slyke singled and Yasiel Puig homered, his second home run in the last four games.
Jimmy Rollins finished the Dodgers' scoring with a solo shot in the eighth inning, his second homer in as many games and 32nd round-tripper of his career against the Mets. Only former Phillies teammates Ryan Howard (42) and Chase Utley (35) have more against the Mets among active players.