The Nats' first round pick will sign quickly

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While the Stephen Strasburg negotiations could be long and nasty, the Nats apparently aren’t going to have any trouble with their second first round pick:

The
Nationals, who took San Diego State pitcher Stephen Strasburg with the
No. 1 overall selection, couldn’t resist taking another pitcher early.
[Drew] Storen was 7-1 with a 3.80 ERA and seven saves with 66
strikeouts in 42.2 innings this season . . . Storen, a draft-eligible
sophomore who could return to school, made it clear he won’t.

“It’s a done deal,” he said. “I can’t get a better situation than this. It’s a perfect situation for me.”

Note
to the Nats’ players: don’t make Storen your union rep once he makes
the big club, because tough negotiations aren’t exactly his forte

I
kid Storen. He may not have been the best player available when the
Nats’ picked him, but based on everything I’ve read, he’s a “finished
product,” as they say, who, as Matthew notes,
could very well be in the Nats’ bullpen very, very soon. If I was him
I’d (a) thank the Nats’ profusely for taking me where they did; and (b)
sign on the dotted line and get my butt throwing live pitches for money
ASAP. If he does that, he could get a nice political boost within an
organization that will no doubt be in Strasburg-related agony for the
next two months. Indeed, the Nats are going to have every incentive in
the world to showcase Storen, both to placate fans and to tease
Strasburg with all that he’s missing.

So good for the kid from Indianapolis, who will very likely benefit from the Boras-inflicted ugliness to come.

Dodgers clinch NL West on Charlie Culberson’s walk-off home run

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 20: Charlie Culberson #6 of the Los Angeles Dodgers runs to first base after hitting a single RBI in the second inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on July 20, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
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Dodgers second baseman Charlie Culberson delivered a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the 10th inning, clinching the NL West for the Dodgers on Sunday afternoon. What a way to celebrate Vin Scully’s final home game behind the microphone.

The Dodgers were trailing 2-1 in the seventh inning, but shortstop Corey Seager tripled in a run to tie the game. Rockies outfielder David Dahl untied the game in the top of the ninth with a two-out solo home run off of Kenley Jansen. But Seager once again rose to the occasion, blasting a game-tying solo shot in the bottom half of the ninth against Adam Ottavino. That would set the stage for Culberson in the next frame.

Culberson, a former Rockie, came into the afternoon with a .591 OPS and zero home runs in 53 plate appearances. He finished the afternoon 3-for-5 with the homer.

It’s the fourth consecutive season in which the Dodgers have won the NL West. The Cubs have clinched the best record, which means they’ll play the winner of the Wild Card game. The Dodgers will play the Nationals in the NLDS. The Nationals have a 1.5-game lead over the Dodgers for home-field advantage, so both teams are still playing for something of importance in the regular season’s final week.

Video: Dustin Pedroia’s base running sends Red Sox to 11th consecutive win

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 24:  Dustin Pedroia #15 of the Boston Red Sox is greeted at the dugout by Pablo Sandoval #48, left, and Mookie Betts #50, right, after hitting a grand slam during the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on September 24, 2016 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr. /Getty Images)
Joseph Garnett Jr. /Getty Images
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The Red Sox defeated the Rays 3-2 on Sunday afternoon thanks to some nifty base running by second baseman Dustin Pedroia. The win marks their 11th in a row, inching them closer to a division title.

With the game tied 2-2 in the top of the tenth, Pedroia led off with a single off of reliever Eddie Gamboa. After Xander Bogaerts lined out, David Ortiz ripped a double into the right-center field gap. Pedroia, running hard the whole way, rounded third and motored towards home plate, but the relay throw home — from center fielder Jaff Decker to second baseman Logan Forsythe to catcher Luke Maile — beat Pedroia by a good 10 feet. He was a dead duck.

Pedroia danced around Maile’s glove, avoiding the tag. Maile, on his side, continued to attempt to apply the tag on Pedroia. When he finally did, the ball was knocked loose and Pedroia scored the go-ahead run. The play was reviewed but the call was upheld.

Joe Kelly kept the Rays off the board in the bottom of the 10th, securing the 3-2 victory for the Red Sox.

The Blue Jays also won on Sunday, meaning the Red Sox still have a 5.5-game lead in the AL East. Any combination of two Red Sox wins and Blue Jays losses will seal up the division for the Red Sox. The two clubs round out the regular season with a three-game set against each other in Boston.