Brewers GM Doug Melvin on Ryan Braun: “We can move forward starting tonight”

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Brewers general manager Doug Melvin addressed Ryan Braun’s suspension prior to tonight’s game against the Padres. While he expressed disappointment about losing Braun for the rest of the season, he also said that the organization is looking forward to putting the matter behind them. Adam McCalvy of MLB.com has the quotes:

“Every year is challenging, but this has always been a cloud over the ballclub, not knowing what’s going to happen. There was a lot of speculation out there; you read about it, you hear about it. I didn’t have any idea what was going on. I only knew what I read in the paper the next day. So you move forward and you play each day as it comes. I am glad, and I think as an organization we are happy that Ryan, the union and the Commissioners Office have all put their heads together and made a wise decision for baseball and for us, the organization.”

The Brewers have struggled through injuries and underperformance this season and currently sit in last place in the NL Central at 41-56. Having Braun around for the rest of the year may have resulted in two or three more wins, but it wouldn’t have made them a contender. Now that Braun has accepted the suspension, the Brewers will have some peace of mind headed into 2014. All things considered, Melvin is happy about that.

“Yeah, I think it’s very important. We can move forward starting tonight,” Melvin said. “We’ll have someone else here tomorrow and we’ll try to win as many games as we can. It’s been a disappointing year for Ryan with his injuries, but with this behind us now, I think it gives us a much better focus for the offseason and what we can do.”

Braun, who turns 30 in November, signed an extension with the Brewers in April of 2011 and remains under contract through 2020.

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.