And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Blue Jays 10, Orioles 9: Pitching need not apply, as the Blue Jays take three of four from Baltimore. Toronto enjoyed a five run fifth and then sat uncomfortably through an O’s comeback late but held on. Russell Martin hit a three-run homer, but doubles were the name of the game on Sunday. Seven in all for the Blue Jays, four in the first inning alone. The idea that homers kill rallies is dumb as all get-out, but there is something kind of helpless and disconcerting about giving up a crap-ton of doubles. It’s like the wheels are all falling off, constantly.

Athletics 6, Reds 1: The A’s snap a seven-game skid. That two of those games came against Cincinnati was rather embarrassing for them, but here we are. Marcus Semien and Jake Smolinski each hit two-run homers and Danny Valencia had a solo shot.

Rays 5, Astros 0: Matt Moore tossed seven shutout innings striking out 10 and allowed only two hits. Dallas Keuchel had four shutout innings. Unfortunately he pitched five innings in all, and that fifth one was a lulu: five runs on four hits and an error.

Cubs 13. Braves 2: Jon Lester allowed only one unearned run in seven and the Cubs’ bats did what you’d expect them to do against a bunch of jabroni Braves pitchers. Chicago has won 14 of 18. Anthony Rizzo drove in three. David Ross drove in two. Javier Baez had a three-run shot.

Tigers 4, Yankees 1: Michael Fulmer continue his dominant run, winning his seventh and adding six more scoreless innings. That brings his total up to twenty eight and a third. If he retires the first batter he faces the next time out, he’ll set the Tigers scoreless innings record. In addition to that 7-1 record, the Tigers rookie has a 2.52 ERA and a 52/19 K/BB ratio over 53 and two-thirds innings.

Royals 3, White Sox 1: Yordano Ventura allowed one run over seven innings, struck out ten and somehow managed not to hit anyone or have an embarrassing emotional meltdown of some sort. Progress, man.

Brewers 5, Mets 3: Bad day all around for the Mets. First manager Terry Collins was taken to the hospital and then Zach Davies dominated them, allowing one run — unearned — and striking out seven in six innings. Milwaukee had a 5-0 lead by the fifth. New York made a little noise agains their old friend Carlos Torres in the eighth, but not enough noise.

Twins 7, Red Sox 4: Rookie Max Kepler hit his first career home run at a great time: tie game, bottom of the tenth for a walkoff win. It was a three-run shot after an 0-for-4 day. The heroics salvaged the final game of the series for Minnesota and prevented the sweep.

Indians 8, Angels 3: Francisco Lindor homered and drove in three runs. And that came in just the first two innings. He had three hits on the day. Carlos Santana hit two homers and drove in three himself. The Indians have won nine of 12. Mike Trout left the game late with a hurt thumb after being hit by a pitch, though the x-rays were negative, which is a positive.

Nationals 5, Phillies 4: Jayson Werth played the hero, hitting a walkoff two-run single with two outs in the ninth. That’s a three-game sweep of the reeling Phillies, who have lost 17 of 22. It was tied entering the ninth but Jonathan Papelbon gave up a homer to Maikel Franco in the top of the inning. He was still pitcher of record in the bottom half so Werth’s hit helped him vulture a win. Pitcher wins are the best, man.

Rangers 6, Mariners 4: Cole Hamels struck out five dudes on the day. One of them was his 2,000th career strikeout. Only 77 pitchers have struck out as many as 2,000 batters. I would’ve guessed more, but nope. I bet there aren’t many things you’ve done in your life that only 76 other people have done. Good things, I mean.

Rockies 2, Padres 1: Tyler Anderson made his major league debut and gave up one run on six hits while pitching into the seventh. The Rockies scored their two runs on a bases loaded walk and a homer. Must’ve been late-90s throwback day. The Padres are 0-10 on Sundays. Maybe they just give up and try to lose fast in order to watch all of that prestige cable TV and awards shows and stuff. Maybe they just think Sunday’s to relax.

Diamondbacks 6, Marlins 0: Robbie Ray threw shutout ball into the eighth. Peter O’Brien hit a three-run homer in the first inning. It was basically over at that point but they still had to keep playing because it’s baseball. There have been four different Pete/Peter O’Brien’s in baseball history, by the way. It’ll take Peter O’Brien playing, like, five more years before I stop thinking that he’s this guy.

Cardinals 8, Pirates 4: The Redbirds sweep the Buccos. Big fan of secondary team nicknames, by the way. “Redbirds,” “Buccos,” “Bombers,” “Fish,” “Tribe,” “Pale Hose.” Not every team has them, I don’t think. Not sure the Dodgers do. Or the Giants. Maybe there are some hyper-local ones most of us don’t know. Some teams’ are kind of lame — just initials like the “M’s” or the “O’s.” I guess it’s like individual nicknames in that way.

Giants 2, Dodgers 1Brandon Belt hit a two-run homer off rookie Julio Urias in the sixth inning. Urias had an otherwise nice day, so his first two starts of the season are starting to fade a bit. No run support, however, as Jake Peavy tossed six shutout innings to earn his 150th win.

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.