James McDonald allows one hit over seven innings, gets the no-decision, Pirates lose

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Quite the dispiriting opening to today’s Pirates-Rockies doubleheader. At least if you’re the Pirates or one of their fans.

Bucs’ starter James McDonald allowed only one hit in seven innings — the first hit coming in the seventh — and struck out eight and ended up allowing only one run.  Despite this, the Pirates lost 2-1 and McDonald got a no-decision.

Not that McDonald was totally screwed by his teammates or anything. He allowed the leadoff walk to Carlos Gonzalez in the seventh and then threw a wild pitch that advanced the runners and led to the Rockies’ first run of the game. But still: it’s not like he had any margin for error. The Pirates got a Pedro Alvarez homer and that’s all.

McDonald now has a 2.78 ERA for the season, but has yet to win a game.  Tough stuff.

Report: Aaron Judge, Yankees reach 9-year, $360M deal

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SAN DIEGO — Aaron Judge has agreed to return to the New York Yankees on a nine-year, $360 million contract, according to a person familiar with the deal.

The person spoke to The Associated Press because the deal had not been announced.

Judge will earn $40 million per season, the highest average annual payout for a position player. The contract trails only Mike Trout’s $426.5 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels and Mookie Betts’ $365 million pact with the Los Angeles Dodgers for biggest in baseball history.

Judge was offered a long-term deal by New York before last season that was worth $213.5 million over seven years from 2023-29. But he turned it down in the hours before opening day in April.

The 6-foot-7 Judge bet on himself — and won.

Judge set an American League record with 62 homers in 2022, powering the Yankees to the AL East title. He also tied for the major league lead with 131 RBIs and just missed a Triple Crown with a .311 batting average.

New York was swept by Houston in the AL Championship Series, but Judge became the first AL MVP for the Yankees since Alex Rodriguez in 2007.

Judge, 30, was selected by New York in the first round of the 2013 amateur draft and made his big league debut in 2016, homering in his first at-bat.

A year later, he was one of baseball’s breakout stars. He hit .284 with 52 homers and 114 RBIs in 2017, winning the AL Rookie of the Year award. The four-time All-Star has 220 homers and 497 RBIs in seven big league seasons.