Clay Buchholz denies using sunscreen in Toronto last week

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Hayhurst and Morris accuse, Passan does some background reporting which, indirectly anyway, bolster the accusations. Clay Buchholz tells WEEI, however, that he did not have sunscreen on his arm last week when he faced the Jays:

“I’ve used it in the past, but that wasn’t on my arm at any time this season,” Buchholz said of the sunblock product. “Day games, you put sunscreen on. That’s what you do, you put sunscreen on.”

Not in a dome. At night.

It’s almost beside the point now. The conversation seems to have moved on from “was Buchholz doctoring the ball?” to a more general “lots of guys doctor the ball this way. Do we really care?” As evidenced by this Peter Gammons tweet this morning suggesting that hitters don’t care either. In fact, they may prefer that pitchers do use a sunscreen-rosin mix:

 

Seems like it’s a more sane direction to head with this conversation — what do we think about the sunscreen issue in general — as individual accusations tend to focus us on one, understandably defensive tree while missing the entire forest.

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.