* Mets vice president of player development Tony Bernazard learned the hard way this afternoon that adding to your long list of “incidents” by challenging a clubhouse full of minor leaguers to a fight while shirtless will get you fired. So, you know, let that be a lesson to everyone else. Keep your shirt on.
* Alex Rodriguez took his two daughters and girlfriend Kate Hudson to
the Yankees’ annual family picnic over the weekend, and then made out with one of them in front of the assembled media.
* Spencer Fordin of MLB.com reports
that 21-year-old Chris Tillman will make his MLB debut Wednesday
against Zack Greinke and the Royals. Tillman has made some big strides
with his control since coming to Baltimore in the Erik Bedard trade
with Seattle, and is now among the elite pitching prospects in
* Boston has no plans to skip
John Smoltz in the rotation despite his 1-4 record and 7.04 ERA, which
is smart because both his raw stuff and 28/5 K/BB ratio in 30.2 innings
suggest that he’ll turn things around soon enough.
* Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland recently turned down Minnesota’s offer for Orlando Cabrera, and in doing so they probably did the Twins a favor.
The Dodgers are NL West champions for the fifth time in a row. They clinched with a 4-2 win over the Giants on Friday night, taking their first and only lead on a mammoth record-breaking home run from Cody Bellinger in the third inning.
Rich Hill turned in another quality start, going six innings with five hits, a run and nine strikeouts to keep the Giants at bay. He tacked on an RBI hit of his own, too, lashing a double to left field for his first extra-base hit since 2007.
The Giants, meanwhile, deployed Jeff Samardzija and his 4.42 ERA for 4 1/3 innings. Samardzija was on the hook for the Dodgers’ four-run spread in the third and took his 15th loss of the season. Pablo Sandoval came through with a solo home run in the ninth, but the rest of San Francisco’s offense wasn’t so lucky against Kenley Jansen, who struck out the side to clinch the game — and the division.
After Friday’s showstopper, the Dodgers are just two wins away from their first 100-win season since 1974. If they win the remaining eight games of the season, they’ll beat out the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers for the most wins in franchise history.
Cody Bellinger helped the Dodgers to their first lead on Friday night, going deep for his 39th home run of the season and setting a new National League rookie home run record in the process. With two on and two out in the third inning, the Dodgers’ slugger launched a 2-1 pitch from the Giants’ Jeff Samardzija, skimming the right field fence to give the team a three-run cushion:
The three-run bomb was Bellinger’s sixth of the season. In what is undoubtedly a Rookie of the Year award-worthy campaign, he’s logged 21 solo shots, 11 two-run blasts and a single grand slam. His historic home run topped former NL rookie leaders Frank Robinson and Wally Berger, at 38 homers apiece.
The Dodgers need to stay on top of the Giants to clinch the NL West or, barring that, have the Marlins pull off a win over the Diamondbacks. They currently lead the Giants 4-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Marlins, meanwhile, are staying just ahead of the D-backs with a 9-7 lead in the top of the sixth.