Mark Grace on his firing: “I have nobody to blame but myself”

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Mark Grace lost his job as the Diamondbacks’ TV analyst last season following his arrest for drunken driving. His second arrest, it must be noted.  Yesterday he offered his first public comments on his arrest and firing. He’s waxing contrite and responsible:

“I have nobody to blame but myself … I did this. The Diamondbacks didn’t do anything. I think it’s important to own this. I own this.”

He goes on trial for four felony counts of aggravated DUI, which will likely land him in prison since this is his second DUI in less than two years and folks who do that are not probation-eligible.

Of note, however, is the fact that, despite the fact the Diamondbacks fired him from the booth, they did allow him to participate in their annual fantasy camp, which is where these comments were made. Also:

“Mark has always been an important part of our family, so we would naturally be here to support him,” Diamondbacks President Derrick Hall said. “While he still has some legal issues to overcome, we look forward to his future involvement in the organization.”

Grace is extremely lucky to have this kind of support when he’s done nothing to truly deserve it. But deserve or not, the Diamondbacks’ willingness to keep Grace in the fold in however diminished a capacity may make it more likely that he’ll make better choices in the future than he would have had everyone turned their back on him.

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.