And That Happened: Monday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores, here are the highlights:

Orioles 5, Yankees 4; Yankees 10, Orioles 2: CC Sabathia pitched five decent innings in this one. Unfortunately he was asked to pitch a sixth too, didn’t have anything and the O’s rallied for three off of him, with Danny Valencia‘s three-run homer knocking them all in. Mark Trumbo‘s two-run homer in the fourth accounted for the O’s other two runs in the first game. The nightcap was all New York, though, with the Yankees building a small lead into a big lead over the course of the game, taking an 8-0 lead by the eighth. Brett Gardner and Austin Romine each homered and drove in three. Nice redemption for Gardner who pinch hit in the ninth of the first game with a runner on third and failed to knock in the tying run.

Mets 4, Phillies 3; Phillies 3, Mets 1: Wilmer Flores hit a walkoff tenth inning homer in the first one. It also pushed him past David Wright for the most walkoff RBI in Mets’ history. He got a lucky break here too, in that he thought the pitch called ball three hit him, started walking to first base and even prompted a replay review of it. Good thing he was wrong. Game two featured Aaron Nola allowing one hit and striking out ten in seven shutout innings and driving in all three runs the Phillies would score in the game with a bases-loaded double in the fifth.

Pirates 6, Nationals 3: Gregory Polanco drove in four runs in the first two innings via a two-run double and a two-run homer. Pittsburgh scored all six of its runs in the first two innings in fact, as the Pirates sent Washington to their seventh defeat in their past ten games. Ten of their last fourteen too. An amusing thing happened here when the benches briefly cleared in the sixth inning. Adam Eaton was taking issue with a strike call with the home plate ump, stepping out of the box and taking forever to come back in. Pirates catcher Francisco Cervell walked away from the plate which angered Eaton for, as he said after the game, “making it a bigger deal than what it is” and “kind of isolate us” in the argument. I lost track of what you’re supposed to do and not supposed to in baseball a long time ago, but even when I tried to keep up I can’t say that I’ve heard someone get mad about this sort of thing. Whatever:

Red Sox 5, Rangers 0: Eduardo Rodriguez and four relievers combine to blank the Rangers. Steve Pearce hit a two-run shot in the first for Boston and J.D. Martinez hit a three-run homer in the eighth to make their lead nice and cozy. Martinez is hitting .331/.394/.654 with 28 homers and 77 RBI. He leads the AL in the latter two categories and trails only teammate Mookie Betts (.344) and Jose Altuve (.337) in average. I don’t suspect he has the contact skills to catch those two guys, but it’s close enough to where it’s worth flying the Triple Crown Watch flags down at the lighthouse.

Reds 7, Indians 5: Cincinnati had a 7-1 lead heading into the ninth and ended up winning but there was a four-run Cleveland rally in the final frame which at least made it interesting. Anthony DeSclafani allowed one run over seven and Scott Schebler was 4-for-5 with a homer. The Reds and Indians’ interleague battle each year is a contest for The Ohio Cup, which goes to the series the winner. The loser is forced to keep Ohio.

Marlins 4, Brewers 3: Bryan Holaday hit a walkoff single in the bottom of the tenth to lead the Fish to victory. He also hit a sac fly in the fourth. Holaday was only in the game because J.T. Realmuto was at the hospital with his wife who was giving birth. Starlin Castro and Brian Anderson hit back-to-back homers in the seventh as the worst team in the N.L. beat the best team in the N.L. That happens in baseball and no one bats an eye, which is one of the many things I love about baseball.

Rays 10, Tigers 9: The Rays had a 5-0 lead after the first inning but this one was just getting started at that point, with Detroit clawing back as the game went on. They tied it with a four-run seventh, the Rays scored two more in the bottom half but then the Tigers tied it up in the eighth to force extras. In the tenth we got yet another extra innings walkoff hit — there were three in all yesterday — when Daniel Robertson singled in Kevin Kiermaeir, who led off the inning with a triple — to give Tampa Bay the win.

Twins 3, Royals 1: Jose Berrios allowed one run over seven but left the game poised to lose it thanks to Danny Duffy shutting out Minnesota for six innings. The Twins’ bats rallied for a couple of that inning to give him the W and added an insurance run in the eighth. Eduardo Escobar had three hits and drove in the go-ahead run. The Royals have lost ten games in a row.

Athletics 2, Astros 0: Gerrit Cole and Frankie Montas each tossed six shutout innings and Cole struck out 11, but then Stephen Piscotty happened. The A’s right fielder homered off of Brad Peacock in the seventh and then singled in a run off of Will Harris in the eighth on his 3-for-4 night. The Astros managed only five hits off of Oakland pitching all night.

Dodgers 8, Padres 2: Clayton Kershaw is looking more like Clayton Kershaw with each of his starts since coming off the disabled list. Here he was vintage Kershaw, shutting out San Diego on only two hits over six. Andrew Toles and Justin Turner each drove in a couple. Turner and Cody Bellinger each had three hits.

Giants 2, Cubs 1: Kyle Hendricks was fantastic, allowing only an unearned run in eight and a third innings of work. But check out the unearned run, which scored on an Hendricks’ errant pickoff throw to first and somehow allowed the baserunner, Alen Hanson, to come all the way around:

Maybe Hendricks should’ve thrown it better and maybe Anthony Rizzo — who was charged with the error — should’ve dug it out, but I’m mostly wondering if Javier Baez, who fielded it, was conserving his energy because he had a triathlon or something after the game. Oh well. This one went extras with Pablo Sandoval delivering the walkoff win with a bases-loaded single in the 11th.

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.