Looking back at “Eight Men Out”

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Christian Red of the New York Daily News has a fantastic in-depth remembrance of John Sayles’ “Eight Men Out,” which came out 25 years ago last week.

He talks to some of the stars, primarily about the making of the movie, and we learn a lot of neat nuggets about the oh-so-wonderful film. Stuff like D.B. Sweeney having to learn to hit left-handed. Charlie Sheen realizing one day that, oh, he wasn’t the star. But how, despite that, he worked hard and helped draw extras to the set when the lowish-budget movie needed to fill a ballpark. There’s also a good second-hand story from Gordon Clapp about how the guy he played — White Sox catcher Ray Schalk — wasn’t exactly happy when Eliot Asinof, the author of the book “Eight Men Out,” tried to interview him back in the 60s. It’s loaded with great stuff.

There is some effort taken to compare the Black Sox Scandal with the Biogenesis scandal, but neither Red nor his subjects are terribly taken with the idea that PEDs are anywhere near as bad as throwing the World Series for money, even if the PED stuff is regrettable. That talk is both measured and, more importantly, doesn’t take away from a great story about a cool movie.

Now: do one about “Matewan,” which is Sayles’ best movie in my view and a personal top-5.

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.