And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Dodgers 2, Giants 1: I wrote this up in its own post when I woke up this morning because the world needed a longer treatment of a game that stands as a microcosm for the Giants season. A late collapse and a bullpen failure. Adrian Gonzalez delivered the killing blow with a walkoff double, but the Giants bullpen was complicit by putting two runners on to lead off the ninth. Oh, and there was a side of Bumgarner-Puig macho posturing, which seemed to be started by Bumgarner. Remember kids: if you’re a hitter, don’t even blink twice lest you be seen as showing up the pitcher, but if you’re a pitcher, you can scream and act like a jackass all you want because that makes you “a competitor.”

Braves 7, Mets 3: Noah Syndergaard is on the cover of The New Yorker this week:


The Curse of the New Yorker is not as famous as The Sports Illustrated Curse — and its effects are usually limited to you, like, not being short-listed for the National Book Award or something — but they’re real, man. Just ask Syndergaard, who got beat up for five runs on eight hits in three and two-thirds innings and then left t the Shouts and Murmurs of an unhappy Citi Field crowd. The Mets have been the Talk of the Town lately, but if the pitching stumbles late, their playoff chances are going to be relegate to The Fiction Issue.

Royals 8, White Sox 3: Kendrys Morales hit a three-run homer. If he hits one more he’ll be the first Royal to hit 30 since Jermaine Dye did it 16 years ago. Yorando Ventura tossed his first career complete game. Well, his first complete game that went nine innings anyway.

Red Sox 5, Orioles 2: David Ortiz hit a homer because he’s David Ortiz. Mookie Betts hit a homer because he was playing the Orioles and he destroys them. Rick Porcello won his 21st game because the cosmos decided that we needed a guy to win a bunch of games this year to make the Cy Young Award arguing fun.

Marlins 4, Nationals 3: The Marlins rallied for two in the sixth inning thanks to a Derek Dietrich pinch-hit double and Ichiro hitting into fielder’s choice which scored a run. Earlier Giancarlo Stanton homered. Miami is four back in the Wild Card behind the Cardinals and Giants. I could almost see the Giants collapsing that far in the final 12 days of the season, but I can’t see both doing it.

Rangers 3, Angels 2: Ian Desmond drove in Elvis Andrus with a walkoff single to reduce the Rangers’ magic number to four. Which was reduced further, to three, when the Mariners lost later last night.

Cubs 5, Reds 2: All kinds of rallies last night, eh? Here the Cubs rallied for all five of their runs between the seventh and eighth innings. Dexter Fowler‘s RBI single in the seventh was the third run, which broke the tie and gave the Cubs the lead for good. Jason Hammel allowed two runs and four hits in seven innings to pick up his 15th win.

Cardinals 5, Rockies 3: Carlos battled altitude effects at Coors Field, needing to take a break to catch his breath at one point, but he pitched well and (all together now) helped his own cause by hitting an RBI double. More importantly, the Cards moved into a tie with the Giants for the second wild card. Both are one game behind the Mets for the first slot.

Astros 4, Athletics 3: Tyler White hit a pinch-hit RBI double in the eighth to tie things up and then Marwin Gonzalez hit a two-run single to give the Astros the lead in the top of the ninth. A nice win, but it may be too late for Houston. They are three games behind Baltimore and Toronto in the Wild Card race but two other teams, Detroit and Seattle, are ahead of them as well.

Blue Jays 3, Mariners 2: Marco Estrada took a no-hitter into the seventh and ended up allowing only one hit while striking out eight in seven innings. Edwin Encarnacion hit a two-run homer and Kevin Pillar hit an RBI single.

Padres 3, Diamondbacks 2: San Diego scored all three of their runs in the fourth thanks to a Wil Myers homer and an Alexi Amarista two-run single. Clayton Richard allowed two runs while pitching into the seventh. Seeing this box score, I was also reminded of the existence of Clayton Richard.

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.