Denard Span out for 10th straight day, too claustrophobic for MRI exam

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For the 10th straight day Denard Span is out of the Twins’ lineup because of a shoulder injury but still on the active roster instead of being placed on the disabled list.

That’s become an odd trend for the Twins since last season, although 10 days of playing with a 24-man roster is extreme even for them.

To make matters worse, after a week on the sidelines the Twins finally decided to give Span a pair of MRI exams … and he couldn’t complete the second one because he’s claustrophobic:

I don’t know what else to say. It’s embarrassing that I couldn’t get it done today, but bottom line, I stayed there for an hour trying to get it done. Just couldn’t do it, man. I tried my best. When they strapped me in there and told me I couldn’t move for 35 minutes, I just couldn’t do it. I didn’t have enough Valium.

Span was able to take batting practice yesterday, but he’s absent from Minnesota’s lineup this afternoon and the Twins still haven’t made a roster move.

It’s been an especially tough week (and/or year) for the Twins’ medical staff.

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.