Cardinals beat Mets after controversial call in ninth inning

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Andres Torres had a leadoff double erased on appeal to start the top of the ninth Monday as the Cardinals edged the Mets 5-4.

First-base umpire David Rackley ruled that that Torres did not touch the bag as he rounded it on his way to second base, giving the Cardinals a big out in a one-run game. Replays weren’t conclusive, but it did appear as though Torres caught the corner on the way by. Torres didn’t argue the call afterwards, but he said after the game that he “definitely” touched the bag.

Here’s the video.

After the call, Cardinals closer Jason Motte struck out Ronny Cedeno, walked Ruben Tejada and got Daniel Murphy to fly out to end the game.  The win ensured that the Cardinals would stay ahead of the Dodgers in the wild card standings. They’re one game ahead of Los Angeles for the second wild card, with the Dodgers hosting the Padres tonight.

As for Rackley’s call, he must have been awfully sure in his mind, even though it’s hard to see how he could have been. Umpires have to make most of their tough calls an instant after the play happens. However, in this case, Rackley had plenty of time to think about it, given that the out was only called after the play was over and the Cardinals made the appeal to first.

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.