Pat Burrell expected to retire at age 35

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No official word yet, but Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors reports that Pat Burrell will announce his retirement following a 12-year career.

Burrell got back on track after a miserable one-and-a-half season stint with the Rays, returning to the NL with the Giants while hitting .259 with 25 homers and an .827 OPS in 560 plate appearances.

Those numbers basically match his career marks, but Burrell’s foot problems made staying in the lineup difficult and his lack of defensive value likely would have made it tough to land a full-time job anyway.

Burrell never quite developed into the superstar many projected from the No. 1 overall pick in the 1998 draft, as his offense was very good rather than great and his defense dragged down his overall value, but he smacked 20-plus homers nine times and among all active right-handed hitters with at least 5,000 plate appearances his .834 OPS ranks 11th.

And now Burrell–or at least his alter ego “The Machine”–will have plenty of time to play dress-up with Brian Wilson.

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.