Rays strike out 21 batters, lose in 15 innings anyway

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The Rays had MLB’s highest strikeout game in five years Monday, fanning 21 A’s in 15 innings, only to lose 4-3 on a Jemile Weeks sacrifice fly.

The 21 strikeouts were a franchise record for Tampa Bay, as well as a franchise record for A’s hitters. It was the first team a team has struck out 21 batters in a game since the A’s fanned that many Rangers in a 13-inning game on Aug. 6, 2007.

Of course, the record for strikeouts in a nine-inning game is 20, established by Boston’s Roger Clemens in 1986 and later matched by Clemens in 1996 and the Cubs’ Kerry Wood in 1998. Randy Johnson also struck out 20 batters in 2001, but that game went into extra innings.

The record for strikeouts in an extra-inning game is 26, established by the A’s in a 20-inning game against the Angels on July 9, 1971. They won that game 1-0. The record was later matched by the Angels in a 17-inning loss to the Brewers in 2004.

Leading the way for the Rays tonight was David Price, who fanned 11 in seven innings. It was his third double-digit strikeout game of the year. The bullpen racked up 10 more K’s from there, with Wade Davis striking out the side in his inning of work.

Josh Reddick and Brandon Inge fanned four times apiece for the A’s. Weeks was 0-for-7 with two strikeouts before ending the game with a sac fly in the bottom of the 15th.

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.