And That Happened: Wednesday's Scores and Highlights

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Phillies 7, Diamondbacks 1: Domonic Brown’s debut was a splendid one: a
single, an RBI double and a sac fly. Carlos Ruiz had two RBI doubles. No
pressure on the offense on this night, however, as Roy Halladay took a
shutout into the ninth and ended up with the complete game.

Braves
3, Nationals 1
: Jason Heyward Stole Home. I want to crow about this and
add it to his legend and everything, but this wasn’t exactly the
Jackie-Robinson-sliding-under-Yogi’s-tag mental image we all get when
someone says “so-and-so stole home.” Basically Brian McCann was
dead-to-rights on either a steal or a botched hit and run between first
and second and got himself caught in a rundown long enough to let
Heyward come in from third. Yes, that’s technically a steal of home. We
should either call that or the more dramatic straight steal of home
something else though. Because one is pure beauty and the other is just
kind of a mess.

Giants 10, Marlins 9: The Giants blew a 7-1 lead
but Andres Torres — who had earlier splashed one into McCovey Cove, hit
a walkoff RBI single in the tenth. It was really kind of a ground rule
double in that it bounced over the wall, but since there was a runner on
third it goes in the books as a plain old single because that’s all
that was necessary to score the winning run. I’m going to call it a
ground rule single, though, because that just sounds more fun.

Cardinals 8, Mets 7: The Cardinals jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first and led 7-2 as late as the sixth inning, when Jaime Garcia hit a wall and Mitchell Boggs threw kerosene on the fire. Six relievers and seven innings later St. Louis prevails on an Albert Pujols RBI single in the 13th. The last time Garcia and Johan Santana faced each other it went 20 innings, however, so this was a crisp one by comparison. 

Reds 10, Brewers 2: Brandon Phillips hit a monster grand slam that bounced off Bernie Brewer’s big, twisty yellow slide. This never would have happened if they had just left his cool, little, beer-stein slide out there the way God and Nature intended.

Astros 8, Cubs 1: Two homers for Carlos Lee. If he has another day like that one his OBP may inch over .300 and his SLG may top .400. For his part, Lee credits new Astros’ hitting coach Jeff Bagwell. The Astros would probably be better off if they activated Bagwell instead.

Blue Jays 5, Orioles 0: Brad Mills — who had only two undistinguished starts in his career before last night — gets the callup for the Jays and the Orioles make him look like he’s Greg Maddux (7 IP, 2 H, 0 ER). A decent night for O’s starter Jeremy Guthrie too (7 IP, 6 H, 0 ER). I’m surprised there hasn’t been more trade chatter about him.

Red Sox 7, Angels 3: Joel Piniero was scratched before the game with an oblique strain and Scot “I haven’t started a game in seven years” Shields got the call. He went an inning and two-thirds, gave up a couple of bombs, threw too many pitches and was followed by a parade of relievers who kept the Angels in it by virtue of the Sox leaving so many runners on base. Marco Scutaro ended the competitive portion of the game with an eighth inning grand slam.

Twins 6, Royals 4: So much for that “Brian Bannister is great in day games” baloney that people (me) like to spew. Banny was roughed up for five runs on 11 hits in six innings. Of course given how the Royals’ pitchers had been doing against Minnesota this series, that qualifies as a gutsy, effective outing. A three-run bomb for Delmon Young, whose wonderful season continues. At the outset I had assumed it was a Faustian bargain kind of thing, but the more I see, the more I think that just maybe he’s made The Leap.

Rays 7, Tigers 4: Eddie Bonine: a reliever is pressed into service as a spot starter and the results were quite Scot Shieldsian (3.1 IP, 8 H, 5 ER). Matt Joyce and Carlos Pena continue to do damage against the Tigers. Which reminds me: yesterday I joked that the Rays should run out a lineup of old Tigers. In that lineup, I included Ray Oyler, saying that he was about to turn 72 next week.  Which he would have if he hadn’t died 29 years ago. I regret the error, but I stand by using Oyler in a gimmicky lineup because you can say what you want about him, but his plate patience is way better than it was back in his playing and living days.

Padres 6, Dodegers 1: Five Padres pitchers combine to four-hit the Dodgers. But don’t worry: Scott Podsednik will be in uniform tonight, so the offensive equation will totally change.

White Sox 6, Mariners 5: A rough start for Mark Buehrle, but the Sox overcome it with the longball. Bobby Jenks strikes out the side in the ninth for the save, so we’re back to normal there.

Pirates 6, Rockies 2: Colorado’s post-break nightmare continues. Pirates starter Ross Ohlendorf was hit in the head with a comebacker in the first but made it to the hospital and back before the game ended. The game lasted 3:17, so you figure with travel time and however long the game had gone on when he was hit, he was at the hospital for less than three hours. Query: have any of you ever gotten out of a hospital visit that quickly for an injury/observation kind of thing? My wife fell and thought she broke something once and we were there for, like, seven hours. It’s good to be a ballplayer.

Athletics 3, Rangers 1: Trevor Cahill two-hits the first place Rangers over eight innings. Kurt Suzuki hit a solo homer, had an RBI single and was driven in to score a third run by Jack Cust.

Yankees 8, Indians 0: The Yankees pounce on Fausto Carmona for seven runs in the first three innings and never look back. Six and a third shutout innings for A.J. Burnett. Joba Chamberlain came in in the seventh, walked Andy Marte and then balked him to second before settling down and retiring the last two batters of the inning. I’m sure this will analyzed to the nth degree in the tabloids today.

Texas Rangers ink free-agent ace Jacob deGrom to 5-year deal

Jacob deGrom
USA Today
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ARLINGTON, Texas — Jacob deGrom is headed to the free-spending Texas Rangers, who believe the health risk is worth the potential reward in trying to end a six-year run of losing.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner agreed to a $185 million, five-year contract Friday, leaving the New York Mets after nine seasons – the past two shortened substantially by injuries.

“We acknowledge the risk, but we also acknowledge that in order to get great players, there is a risk and a cost associated with that,” Rangers general manager Chris Young said. “And one we feel like is worth taking with a player of Jacob’s caliber.”

Texas announced the signing after the 34-year-old deGrom passed his physical. A person with direct knowledge of the deal disclosed the financial terms to The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the club did not announce those details.

The Rangers were also big spenders in free agency last offseason, signing shortstop Corey Seager ($325 million, 10 years) and second baseman Marcus Semien ($175 million, seven years).

The team said deGrom will be introduced in a news conference at Globe Life Field next week following the winter meetings in San Diego.

“It fits in so many ways in terms of what we need,” Young said. “He’s a tremendous person. I have a number of close friends and teammates who played with Jacob and love him. I think he’s going to be just a perfect fit for our clubhouse and our fans.”

Texas had modest expectations after adding Seager, Semien and starter Jon Gray ($56 million, four years) last offseason but still fell short of them.

The Rangers went 68-94, firing manager Chris Woodward during the season, and then hired Bruce Bochy, a three-time World Series champion with San Francisco. Texas’ six straight losing seasons are its worst skid since the franchise moved from Washington in 1972.

Rangers owner Ray Davis said the club wouldn’t hesitate to keep adding payroll. Including the $19.65 million qualifying offer accepted by Martin Perez, the team’s best pitcher last season, the Rangers have spent nearly $761 million in free agency over the past year.

“I hate losing, but I think there’s one person in our organization who hates losing worse than me, and I think it’s Ray Davis,” Young said. “He’s tired of losing. I’m tired of losing. Our organization is tired of losing.”

After making his first start in early August last season, deGrom went 5-4 with a 3.08 ERA in 11 outings. He helped the Mets reach the playoffs, then passed up a $30.5 million salary for 2023 and opted out of his contract to become a free agent for the first time.

That ended his deal with the Mets at $107 million over four years, and deGrom rejected their $19.65 million qualifying offer in November. New York will receive draft-pick compensation for losing him.

The fan favorite becomes the latest in a long line of ace pitchers to leave the Mets for one reason or another, including Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden and David Cone.

The Rangers visit Citi Field from Aug. 28-30.

When healthy, deGrom is perhaps baseball’s most dominant pitcher. His 2.52 career ERA ranks third in the expansion era (since 1961) behind Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw (2.48) and Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax (2.19) among those with at least 200 starts.

The right-hander is 4-1 with a 2.90 ERA in five career postseason starts, including a win over San Diego in the wild-card round this year that extended the Mets’ season. New York was eliminated the next night.

A four-time All-Star and the 2014 NL Rookie of the Year, deGrom was a ninth-round draft pick by the Mets in 2010 out of Stetson, where he played shortstop before moving to the mound. He was slowed by Tommy John surgery early in his career and didn’t reach the majors until age 26.

Once he arrived, though, he blossomed. He helped the Mets reach the 2015 World Series and earn a 2016 playoff berth before winning consecutive NL Cy Young Awards in 2018 and 2019.

But injuries to his elbow, forearm and shoulder blade have limited him to 26 starts over the past two seasons. He compiled a career-low 1.08 ERA over 92 innings in 2021, but did not pitch after July 7 that year because of arm trouble.

DeGrom is 82-57 with 1,607 strikeouts in 1,326 innings over nine big league seasons. He gets $30 million next year, $40 million in 2024 and 2025, $38 million in 2026 and $37 million in 2027. The deal includes a conditional option for 2028 with no guaranteed money.

The addition of deGrom gives the Rangers three proven starters along with Gray and Perez, who went 12-8 with a career-best 2.89 ERA in his return to the team that signed him as a teenager out of Venezuela. Young didn’t rule out the addition of another starter.

With several holes on their starting staff, the Mets have shown interest in free agents Justin Verlander and Carlos Rodon to pair with 38-year-old Max Scherzer atop the rotation.

Now, with deGrom gone, signing one of those two could become a much bigger priority.