And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Diamondbacks 4, Giants 1: Bye-bye Giants? They drop two of three to the Dbacks and now find themselves down by seven with 22 to play. Sure, Arizona could collapse — anyone can — but the dirty little secret about history’s big collapses is that they were always accompanied by another team surging. Is there anything about this Giants team that suggests to you that they are capable of a surge? Me neither.

Tigers 18, White Sox 2: Bye-bye White Sox. Note the lack of a question mark here. Detroit swept ’em in pretty damn convincing fashion. For Chicago the conversation now turns to what is shaping up to be a very eventful offseason.

Indians 9, Royals 6: Two homers and five driven in for Shelley Duncan made my daughter smile when I told her about it. Not that she knows what an RBI is. I mean, I teach her the important stuff about baseball, not beside-the-point facts.

Brewers 4, Astros 0: Shaun Marcum allowed one hit over seven innings. Ryan Braun drove in three. One on a single, one on a homer and one on a bases-loaded walk.

Marlins 5, Phillies 4: Crazy game. And not just for that video-review that maybe shouldn’t have been (and about which we’ll have a dedicated post later this morning).  The Marlins stranded 23 guys and still won. The Phillies walked the ballpark, many of them intentionally. The game finally ended in the 14th when, after one unintentional walk and two intentional walks by David Herndon, he issued one more unintentional walk to force in the winning run. His actual quote after the game: “stuff happens.”  Boy did it.

Yankees 9, Blue Jays 3: Derek Jeter drove in five runs, tying a career high. He’s hitting .346 with 17 extra-base hits and 34 RBIs in 50 games since he came off the DL in early July. I tell ya, his greatness is yet to be fully appreciated.  Homers from Jeter, A-Rod and Nick Swisher helped finish off the sweep. Jose Bautista hit his 40th.

Rangers 11, Red Sox 4: The Bosox allowed 28 runs while dropping two of three to Texas. In the one game they won they scored 12. This could be a fun playoffs matchup. And by fun I mean “dear God I hope these guys figure out how to pitch in the next month.”

Angels 4, Twins 1: Los Angeles of Anaheim beats Minnesota of Minneapolis, keeping pace 3.5 back of Texas. The Angels are the only team who wouldn’t make the playoffs if the season ended today which has a greater than 10 percent chance of making it overall based on however that playoff possibility factor is calculated. They’re at 10.6 percent.

Padres 7, Rockies 2: Will Venable and Jeremy Hermida each drove in three, helping snap a nine-game losing streak.

Cubs 6, Pirates 3: Randy Wells had his second-straight strong start. After the game people were asking him if he’s found his 2009 form again after a tough 2010. One of the things he said about last year: “There was a lot of stuff off the field that was said and thrown out there that was false.” Which sounds more like something a person on a reality show or some pop star who has been in the tabloids a lot says. But hey, I suppose that’s where we are as a society.

Athletics 8, Mariners 5: Hideki Matsui continues his hot second half hitting, smacking three doubles. He’s batting .343 since the break. The A’s sweep.

Reds 3, Cardinals 2: This is why there was no real reason for the Brewers to freak after getting swept by the Cards last week. To stay in it, St. Louis still had to, you know, beat other teams. The Reds took two of three in this series. Juan Francisco had four hits including the go-ahead single in the 10th. Lance Berkman, looking ahead to the Milwaukee series that kicks off today:

“If we can sweep them again, we can put ourselves at least within the realm of possibility, I guess you could say.”

Well, I guess you could say that. You could say a lot of things.

Mets 6, Nationals 3: From the game story: “[Willie Harris’] pinch-hit single highlighted a four-run sixth inning, spoiling what was likely Hernandez’s final game with Washington.” Seeing as though Livan Hernandez is easily my least favorite player in baseball, please forgive me if I shed no tears over this.

Rays 8, Orioles 1: The battle of the Jeremys. Hellickson has two complete games this year, each of which were four-hitters against the O’s. Shocker. Guthrie took his 17th loss. If he stays in the rotation and the rotation stays on schedule, he would get four more starts this year. C’mon, Jeremy! You can do it!

Braves 4, Dodgers 3: Atlanta salvages one, snapping the Dodgers’ six-game winning streak. Martin Prado drove in the winning run with a single in the bottom of the ninth. Chipper Jones called it “one of our biggest wins of the year.” Maybe he’s right.  I know people who are able to talk in detail about random games from five months ago — or heck, five years ago — but I’m not one of those people. Maybe I read too many box scores or something and they all blend together to me. So I guess this was one of the team’s bigger wins. We’re just at the point of the season when I’ve forgotten a lot of what has happened, so I can’t really say.

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.