MLB Saturday scores, highlights, updates, news: Bellinger ties NL rookie home run record

One of the final regular-season Saturdays featured a full slate of 15 games, including six of the day game variety. Here's everything you need to know from the world of baseball Saturday.

Final scores

Bellinger ties NL rookie record as Dodgers top Nationals again

The Dodgers haven't done much winning lately, but it seems like they might be back on track. On Saturday, they took the second  game of a three-game set against the Nationals, thereby ensuring a series win in a possible NLCS preview.

Unlike Friday's 7-0 victory, Saturday's win was a tight 3-2 affair. The Dodgers received a solid start from Rich Hill, who held the Nationals to one run (an Anthony Rendon homer) over five innings. That was the only hit Hill allowed, though he did walk two batters. He also struck out seven before giving way to the bullpen.

Josh Fields, Brandon Morrow, Ross Stripling, Tony Watson and Kenley Jansen combined for four innings, over which they allowed three hits and a run while striking out two and maintaining the lead.

Offensively, the Dodgers were paced by Chase Utley and Cody Bellinger, or the right side of their infield. Utley and Bellinger notched two hits apiece, with Bellinger also driving in two of the Dodgers' runs -- one via his 38th home run of the season, another on a single to left.

Bellinger is now tied with Wally Berger (1930 Braves) and Hall of Famer Frank Robinson (1956 Reds) for the most home runs by an NL rookie. Incredible. The AL record is held by Mark McGwire, who socked 49 dingers with the 1987 A's. Bellinger will have to get crazy hot to approach Big Mac's record. Nothing wrong with settling for the most homers ever by an NL rookie, though.

Indians clinch division and start new winning streak

Cleveland's AL record 22-game winning streak ened Friday, but the Indians started what they hope is a new winning streak on Saturday. Edwin Encarnacion cranked his 35th home run of the season in Saturday's win over the Royals, and Austin Jackson chipped in a Little League home run as well.

The Indians are now 1-1 in their last two games and 23-1 in their last 24 games. Decent. And thanks to their recent hot streak -- and all-around strong play this season, of course -- the Indians are again AL Central champions. They clinched their second straight division title Saturday.

This is the first time the Indians have won back-to-back division titles since winning five straight from 1995-99. Up next for the Indians: clinching the best record in the AL to secure home field advantage through at least the ALCS. They hold a 1 1/2 game lead over the Astros for the league's best record.

Astros inch closer to AL West title

The magic number is down to one. The Astros beat the Mariners on Saturday afternoon, so now one more Astros win or one more Angels loss will officially give Houston their first division title since 2001. That's when they were still in the NL Central, remember. They moved to the AL West in 2013.

When the Astros take the mound Sunday looking to clinch the division title, they'll send prized trade deadline pickup Justin Verlander to the mound.

Of course, the Astros have been in sole possession of first place since April 14, so it was never a matter of "if" they would win the division, but "when." Now we know the answer is pretty darn soon.

Yankee rout O's again

Yankee Stadium has not been kind to the Orioles in 2017. Following Saturday's loss, the O's are 1-8 in the Bronx this season, and they've been outscored 97-40 in those nine games. They were beat by Earl Weaver's favorite offensive weapon on Saturday: the three-run home run. Didi Gregorius and Greg Bird each hit three-run shots in New York's win.

The Yankees have scored an incredible 150 runs in 18 games against the Orioles this season. That's not only the most runs one team has scored against another team this season, it's the most runs any team has scored against any other team in the expansion era. That takes us all the way back to 1961. Here's the leaderboard:

  1. 2017 Yankees: 150 runs vs. Orioles
  2. 2002 Diamondbacks: 146 runs vs. Rockies
  3. 2016 Cubs: 143 runs vs. Reds
  4. 2006 Tigers: 141 runs vs. Royals
  5. 2001 Mariners: 140 runs vs. Rangers

The bad news for the Orioles? They still have one game remaining against the Yankees this weekend (and this season), and they're sending Ubaldo Jimenez and his 6.75 ERA out to the mound.

Russell returns from DL with a homer

The Cubs welcomed shortstop Addison Russell back from the disabled list on Saturday, and he returned with a long home run. Russell had been out since Aug. 2 with a foot injury. To the action footage:

Just as important as getting Russell back: beating the Cardinals. The Cubs did that Saturday to push St. Louis to five games back in the NL Central.

CarGo finally getting hot?

This has been a tough season for Rockies stalwart Carlos Gonzalez. He went into Saturday's game with a decidedly un-CarGo-like .251/.327/.400 batting line and 12 home runs. Gonzalez did go deep Saturday night against the Padres, giving him five home runs in his last nine games.

Gonzalez went into Saturday's game hitting .357/.481/.810 in 13 September games. A simple late-season hot streak? Or a sign CarGo is starting to come out of his season long funk? Whatever it is, the Rockies will take it. They're inching closer to locking up that second wild-card spot, and a productive Gonzalez gives them a much better chance to beat the D-Backs in the NL Wild Card Game.

Tigers stumbling to the finish line

Over the last few weeks the Tigers took the painful -- and necessary -- steps to begin a rebuild. Verlander, Upton, Justin Wilson, J.D. Martinez and Alex Avila were all traded away. Those trades combined with some injuries have left the Tigers with what amounts to a skeleton crew roster. Miguel Cabrera must be feeling mighty lonely in the lineup.

The Tigers lost again Saturday, this time getting walloped by the also rebuilding White Sox. Jose Abreu drove in two of his team's 10 runs.

With Saturday's loss, the Tigers are now 10-30 with a minus-110 run differential since Aug. 5. No other club has more than 26 losses during that time. Detroit is currently 61-87 overall, only 3 1/2 games better than the last-place Giants. The Tigers have just enough time to make a run at the No. 1 pick in the 2018 draft.

Angels win another Bridwell start

The Astros could've clinched the division title Saturday night, but the Angels did not cooperate. They beat the Rangers thanks to two solo home runs from Justin Upton, both against Cole Hamels.

Right-hander Parker Bridwell got the start for the Halos and he retired the first 13 batters he faced before Joey Gallo doubled to right field with one out in the fifth. Bridwell finished his outing having allowed only three hits and two walks in six scoreless innings. He struck out seven.

The Angels acquired Bridwell from the Orioles in a cash trade back in April, and since then he's thrown 102 innings with a 3.71 ERA. He's made 17 starts for the Halos this year and the team is 15-2 in those 17 games. If the Angels grab a wild-card spot -- they are one game behind the Twins for the second wild-card spot -- Bridwell will be a big reason why. He's done a great job solidifying the back of the rotation.

Quick hits

  • The Padres' competitive hopes are officially dashed for the season, but manager Andy Green provides reason for hope.
  • The Reds won't pitch rookie right-hander Tyler Mahle for the rest of the season to control his workload.
  • Cubs catcher Willson Contreras was suspended two games following his ejection on Friday -- a suspension he is appealing. Contreras spiked his mask, which then bounced and hit home plate umpire Jordan Baker. 
  • Dodgers pitcher Brandon McCarthy will be activated this week. He's likely to pitch in relief.
  • X-rays came back negative after Cardinals outfielder Dexter Fowler was hit in the hand by a pitch Saturday.
CBS Sports Writer

Mike Axisa joined CBS Sports in 2013. He has been a member of the BBWAA since 2015 and has previously written about both fantasy baseball and real life baseball for MLBTradeRumors.com, FanGraphs.com, RotoAuthority.com,... Full Bio

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