Giants shore up infield with Pirates' Sanchez

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Giants acquire 2B Freddy Sanchez from the Pirates for RHP Tim Alderson
The price was quite a bit higher than expected, though I think Alderson’s rep is a bit overblown. The Pirates still did far better here than the Diamondbacks did in the Felipe Lopez trade.
Sanchez fills a big need for the Giants, who had tried Emmanuel Burriss, Kevin Frandsen, Matt Downs, Juan Uribe and Eugenio Velez at second base. He doesn’t offer a whole lot besides the .300 average, but he’s a nice No. 2 hitter and a steady defender. I don’t like the idea of paying him $8.1 million next year, but that’s what he’ll earn if his vesting option kicks in with 600 plate appearances. He’s at 382 right now, so he’s on pace to top that total.
The Giants should be looking at a lineup of:
RF Randy Winn
2B Sanchez
3B Pablo Sandoval
C Bengie Molina
CF Aaron Rowand
1B Ryan Garko/Travis Ishikawa
SS Edgar Renteria
LF Nate Schierholtz
Fred Lewis, Andres Torres and Velez will keep helping out in the outfield with Rowand and Schierholtz hurt.
It’s the still the weakest lineup of any NL contender, but there are no longer any major holes.
In Alderson, the Pirates are getting a 20-year-old right-hander who was 6-1 with a 3.47 ERA in 13 starts since moving up to Double-A Connecticut. For the year, he’s allowed 107 hits, walked 17 and struck out 66 in 98 2/3 innings. He has a strikeout curve that he’ll probably use more in the majors. His fastball is just average for a right-hander, and his changeup needs work. That the Giants have had him focusing on the change more frequently has taken a toll on his numbers this year, but could pay off in the end. He should debut sometime next summer. My guess is that he’ll be a No. 4 starter, but he could turn into something more with an improved change.

Dodgers top Giants, clinch fifth straight NL West title

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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.

Watch: Cody Bellinger breaks NL rookie home run record

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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.