Ben Sheets continued his surprising resurgence last night against the Phillies, allowing just one run over six innings as part of a 6-1 win.
Sheets scattered six hits while striking out four and walking just one. He gave up his first earned run of the season on an RBI double by Shane Victorino in the first inning, but held the Phillies off the board the rest of the way.
Cole Hamels really struggled in his first start since signing his six-year, $144 million extension, giving up five runs (three earned) on four hits and six walks over five innings. It was his shortest outing of the season while his six walks were a career-high. He obviously can’t handle the pressure of his big money contract. Or maybe baseball is just weird like that.
As for Sheets, he’s now 3-0 with a 0.50 ERA and 15/5 K/BB ratio in 18 innings across his first three starts with the Braves. The Braves’ rotation would look better with Ryan Dempster in it, but Sheets’ recent emergence softens the blow a little. Now, if only he can stay healthy from here.
Your Friday box scores:
Cardinals 9, Cubs 6
Athletics 14, Orioles 9
Padres 7, Marlins 2
Red Sox 3, Yankees 10
Tigers 3, Blue Jays 8
Pirates 6, Astros 5
White Sox 9, Rangers 5
Nationals 0, Brewers 6
Indians 0, Twins 11
Reds 3, Rockies 0
Rays 1, Angels 3
Mets 5, Diamondbacks 11
Royals 1, Mariners 6
Dodgers 5, Giants 3 (10 innings)
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.