And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

White Sox 2, Mets 1Todd Frazier tied the game in the seventh with a homer off of Jacob deGrom, but the really interesting stuff happened in the 13th. That’s when White Sox relief pitcher Matt Albers — a guy who embodies the Krukian phrase “I’m not an athlete, I’m a ballplayer, lady” — smacked a double, took third on a wild pitch and then scored on a sacrifice. He hadn’t batted in seven years. He hadn’t gotten a hit in a big league game in nine. He’d still come and absolutely wreck your beer league softball game, but for a major leaguer he should’ve been about as easy an out as it comes. Guess not. This is why preview shows and so-called expert analysis is dumb in baseball. We have no idea what’s gonna happen. Stuff just happens on a baseball diamond.

Braves 5, Giants 4: Freddie Freeman with the walkoff bomb in the 11th inning, requiring the Atlanta bat boy to bolt to the nearest Barnes and Noble to purchase a copy of “Celebrating Dramatic Baseball Wins for Dummies” because the Braves probably had no idea. The Braves have won four of six. The bat boy should’ve also picked up a self-help book about how to deal with the fear of success too, just to be on the safe side.

Indians 5, Rangers 4: Yan Gomes hit a walkoff single in the 11th inning, which was set up by Lonnie Chisenhall’s double just prior. Mike Napoli hit a two-run homer to remain red hot.

Astros 5, Diamondbacks 4: George Springer hit a walkoff homer in the 11th inning to give the Astros the win. He and Freddie Freeman then formed the “11th Inning Heroes Club” with rad homemade t-shirts and stuff. Yan Gomes asked to join the club since he had an 11th inning walkoff hit too. Freeman and Springer said that, yeah, technically he could, but he was a JUNIOR member since he only hit a single to win it in the 11th. They’ve been sort of picking on Gomes about all of that since then. Gomes’ mother is considering a gentle but firm call to Mrs. Freeman and Mrs. Springer to ask them to tell their sons to stop treating her boy like that. God, it’s hard to be a parent.

Nationals 7, Phillies 2: Max Scherzer struck out 11 over eight innings and Wilson Ramos hit a three run homer in the sixth inning. Ramos had three hits in all and is hitting .338/.383/.536 with seven homers and 29 RBI on the year. He got laser eye surgery before the season, so viva performance enhancement. Deep thought: if LASIK came in pill form would Ramos be suspended for 80 games?

Padres 14, Mariners 6: The day the Padres owner tore his club a new one, calling them “miserable failures” and “an embarrassment,” they went out and scored two touchdowns against the team that tattooed them the night before. It probably would’ve inspired him to rip them again today, but it feels like he used all his best adjectives for futility on Wednesday. If he tries again he’ll probably sound like the French knights in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” I mean, maybe Alexi Ramirez will drive in five runs once again if he’s told that his mother was a hamster and his father smelled of eldeberries, but I just sort of doubt it.

Brewers 3, Cardinals 1: Zach Davies had nine strikeouts over eight shutout innings to help the Brewers avoid the sweep. That’s pretty much it. No crazy things. No pitchers hitting doubles or people throwing octopuses on the ice or anything like that. Davies went 0-3 with an 8.78 ERA in three starts in April. He had a 3.81 ERA in May in five starts.

Athletics 5, Twins 1: Five in a row for the A’s. Three of them were against these Twins, but they still count. Somehow. The offense broke out a good bit Danny Valencia had two doubles and a single. Jake Smolinski homered. Jed Lowrie singled twice and scored twice.

Orioles 13, Red Sox 9: Red Sox starter Joe Kelly gave up seven runs on seven hits in two and a third inning and then was placed on the slow boat to Pawtucket after the game. It was all the worse given that his mates gave him seven runs in support while he was the pitcher of record and that all, eventually, was for naught. The Sox hit five homers and lost. The Orioles hit zero homers and scored more runs in this game than they have all year. This is important. This means something. [sculpts Devil’s Tower with this mashed potatoes].

Tigers 3, Angels 0: Rookie starter Michael Fulmer took a no-hitter into the seventh. Fulmer stayed in for one more after losing his no-hit bid and ended up allowing two hits and no runs while striking out eight. The kid has allowed one run in 23 and a third innings over his last three starts.

Blue Jays 7, Yankees 0: Aaron Sanchez pitched shutout ball into the seventh to help the Jays sweep the Yankees. Edwin Encarnacion and Justin Smoak each drove in a couple. Darwin Barney reached base four times and Michael Saunders had two doubles. Since getting to .500 the Yankees have lost six of eight so they ain’t at .500 anymore. That’s just math.

Marlins 3, Pirates 2: Miami starter Adam Conley took a no-hitter into the sixth and had nine strikeouts in six scoreless innings. The offensive hero was Adeiny Hechavarria, who hit a tiebreaking RBI double in the bottom of the eighth.

Cubs 2, Dodgers 1: Jon Lester dominated, striking out ten and allowing just the one run on four hits in a complete game. A Kris Bryant two-run homer in the third provided all of the offense Chicago would need. Heck, they only had three hits in all in this crisp two-hour, twenty-nine minute affair.

Royals 6, Rays 3: The Royals win for the sixth straight time. Those were all at home. They also came amidst a rash of injuries to key players on their team, which isn’t supposed to happen. See my comments about things just happening in baseball from up in the White Sox-Mets recap.

Reds 7, Rockies 2: The Rockies homered seven times on Tuesday night. None last night thanks to Reds starter John Lamb who pitched seven innings of one-run ball. Billy Hamilton was 3-for-5 with two RBI and two stolen bases. His on-base percentage is now at .300 which, while not amazing for most players, is practically Barry Bondsian for Hamilton.

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

Jacob deGrom
USA Today

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.