And That Happened: Thursday's Scores and Highlights

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Red
Sox 13, Rockies 11
: Laser show: Dustin Pedroia: 5 for 5 with three
homers including the game winner in the tenth. Torture session: This
game: four hours and forty-eight minutes and not a decent pitching
performance in sight. Deja vu: Jonathan Papelbon: blowing a save and
giving up a couple of runs.

Phillies 12, Indians 3: Like I said yesterday, I think Charlie Manuel deliberately got himself run from this one because it was hot, he knew the storms were coming, he knew the Indians weren’t gonna offer much of a challenge and he’d rather be back in the clubhouse hoistin’ the moist. As it was, Polanco, Utley and Werth all hit the cover off the ball, Joe Blanton was solid and not much help was needed from the bullpen. I guess that means the Phillies are back on track.

Brewers 5, Twins 0: Gallardo was on, the Twins’ bats were dormant and the Brewers complete the sweep. Which would all be well and good if . . .

White Sox 2, Braves 0:  . . . the White Sox weren’t storming up the hillside like some crazed horde. They sweep Atlanta, who can sort of identify with Minnesota at the moment as a team that similarly can’t get its mojo workin’ and is in danger of falling out of first place.

Tigers 6, Mets 5: But if the Braves fall out, it won’t be before tonight. Atlanta keeps its half game lead because Hisanori Takahashi just didn’t have his mojo workin’ (4 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 4 BB).  After he was gone the Mets bullpen took care of business, but the rally never came in earnest.

Blue Jays 5, Cardinals 0: The Jays jumped on Adam Wainwright for five runs on six hits — three of them dingers, two of those by Vernon Wells — in four innings, sending that tall drink of water to the showers earlier than he had left in any game since September 2008.

Astros 7, Giants 5: Matt Cain got jumped on as well, getting pummeled even worse than Wainwright did (2.2 IP, 9 H, 7 ER). In contrast, Wandy Rodriguez snapped out of whatever funk he’s been in all year, only allowing a couple of unearned runs in his six innings.

Cubs 3, Mariners 2: Thank goodness the M’s lost, because if they somehow get themselves back in the race they won’t trade Cliff Lee and that’s dozens of would-be rumor-trafficking blog posts I’ll never get to write.

Rays 5, Padres 3: The Rays salvage one. Padres manager Bud Black said after the game that he wants you, he needs you, but there ain’t no way he’s ever gonna love you, now don’t be sad, ’cause “two out of three on the road in this environment against this club, a
good feat accomplished.”  OK, I may have paraphrased the bit before the quotation marks, but I’m pretty sure that’s what he was driving at.

Orioles 11, Marlins 5: Both of these teams were interested in getting Bobby Valentine as their manager. The loser won. The loser of this game, I mean. Valentine? Oh, he’s aces.

Dodgers 10, Angels 6: The Dodgers finally break their losing skid at six games. More bad baserunning in this one, with Reggie Willits getting nailed in a rundown between third and home and Bobby Abreu getting thrown out at third trying to advance on a pitch in the dirt. Abreu was also caught stealing once, but it happens. What doesn’t happen: Jamey Carroll was called safe at second base when sliding in after advancing on an Andre Ethier comebacker. He assumed he was out, though, wandered off the bag on his way back to the dugout and was tagged out.  After the game Joe Torre and Mike Scioscia sent notes home with all the players asking the moms and dads if it’s OK for them to stay late for extra practice tomorrow.

Rangers 6, Pirates 5: Eleven wins in a row for the Rangers, this one on a walkoff RBI single by Vlad.  Bankruptcy schmankruptcy. Maybe the Rangers don’t need to make any moves at all.

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.