Cody Ross badly wanted a multiyear deal as a free agent over the winter. The Red Sox probably wish they had given one.
Ross’s 16th homer of the season was a three-run shot off White Sox closer Addison Reed in the bottom of the ninth Thursday, giving the Red Sox all of their runs in a 3-1 win.
It was Ross’s third three-run homer in two days. He’s scored 44 runs and driven in 50 despite being limited to 63 games this season. Last year, he had 14 homers, 54 runs scored and 52 RBI in 121 games for the Giants.
As true to his usual norms, most of Ross’s production has come against lefties, as he’s hit them at an outstanding .328/.410/.836 clip with nine homers this season. However, he’s been plenty solid while getting more time against righties that originally expected, with Wednesday’s homer giving him seven in 153 at-bats and raising his average to .248.
Ross has also become a fan favorite at Fenway, with 11 of his homers coming at home. He seems to like Boston as much as it likes him, so one wonders if the Red Sox will try sign him to an extension before the end of the season. He’s making a modest $3 million this year, down from $6.3 million in his final year with the Giants. If he’s willing to do a two-year, $12 million deal, the Red Sox could forget the luxury-tax ramifications and go ahead and lock him up.
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.
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.