I officially love the Rangers' bankruptcy judge

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Barry Shlachter of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram has a recap of yesterday’s Texas Rangers bankruptcy hearing and, as we noted yesterday, it seems like the Rangers have reason to be at least cautiously optimistic. The judge acknowledged that the highest bid did not necessarily make for the best bid, and if he ultimately goes with that reasoning, the Rangers are most of the way home.  Obviously he could go in another direction between now and the time his ruling comes out on July 9th, but there wasn’t anything that happened yesterday to give the team reason for concern either.

But the best thing that happened in the hearing had nothing to do with the Rangers specifically. It came from the judge, who said what everyone else thinks but for some reason isn’t allowed to say:

Lynn conceded at one point that the highest bid was not always the
determining factor in selecting a sports franchise buyer. What, the
judge asked hypothetically, if organized crime came and said they wanted
to buy the team?

Then the robed jurist joked, “This is not the NFL.”

“I was trying to be
facetious,” Lynn quickly added, lest anyone take the remark the wrong
way.

We hear you, your honor. We hear you loud and clear.

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.