Red Sox claim Taylor Buchholz off waivers from Blue Jays

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For the second time in a week a Blue Jays player was snatched up off waivers after Toronto cut them loose to clear space on the 40-man roster.

First the A’s claimed Edwin Encarnacion as a potential alternative to Kevin Kouzmanoff at third base and yesterday the Red Sox claimed Taylor Buchholz as a buy-low bullpen candidate with some upside.

Buchholz had an excellent season as a setup man for the Rockies in 2008, posting a 2.17 ERA, .188 opponents’ batting average, and 56/18 K/BB ratio in 66 innings, but he missed all of 2009 and most of 2010 following Tommy John elbow surgery.

He returned to the mound to throw 12 innings down the stretch this season, but showed decreased velocity with both his fastball and off-speed stuff. Still, as a 28-year-old with a solid track record Buchholz represents a nice flier for the Red Sox, who’ll hope he’s healthy enough to emerge as a middle-relief option heading into 2011.

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.