And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Mets 7, Giants 0: There is improbable, there is highly unlikely, there is damn nigh inconceivable and then there is Jason Vargas tossing a complete game shutout in the Year of Our Lord 2019. You ask for miracles, Theo, I give you the San Francisco Giants lineup getting blanked by a guy who rarely hits 85 on the gun. Amed Rosario hit a three-run homer and Michael Conforto and Adeiny Hechavarria each hit solo homers.

Red Sox 8, Royals 0: See, now Chris Sale tossing a complete game shutout, THAT I can feature. He allowed only three hits and struck out 12, three of which came on nine straight pitches in the bottom of the eighth.

Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a three-run double and Rafael Devers homered and drove in three.

Rays 4, Tigers 0: Charlie Morton tossed seven shutout innings, striking out eight and needing only 83 pitches to do it. He’s now gone 20 straight starts without a loss. He was the stopper here, snapping the Rays’ four-game losing streak. The Rays scored first when Austin Meadows tripled and then ran home on a throwing error by the Tigers’ second baseman, made worse by the fact that the Tigers’ pitcher was not backing up third base on the throw. Ron Gardenhire:

“We have to catch the ball and we have to throw the ball. Just make the simple plays and get the outs”

He then threw all the team’s bats at the assembled Tigers players who he had herded into the shower, said “our record is 23-35,” asked “how did we ever win 23” while his pitching coach, who used to sell Lady Kenmores, said “it’s a miracle!”

Nationals 6, White Sox 4: Tired: the Nationals bullpen blows another lead late in the game. Wired: the Nationals’ batters suck it up and come back with Trea Turner hitting a two-run walkoff homer. The win was Washington’s fourth in a row. They have also won four series in a row. If this is truly a ship-righting situation, the question is whether it’s coming too late or not. I’d say no — they’re only 6.5 back as neither Philly nor Atlanta has pulled away when given the chance — but then again, I’m not sure this is truly ship-righting. Guess we’ll see.

Diamondbacks 3, Dodgers 2: The Dodgers jumped out to a 2-0 lead but Jarrod Dyson‘s RBI double in the eighth forced extras. On to the 11th where the Snakes rallied against reliever Scott Alexander with an Eduardo Escobar leadoff triple after which David Peralta knocked him in for the walkoff win. That snaps the Dodgers’ seven-game winning streak. And caused some folks in my mentions to ask why they couldn’t shell out more than the Cubs did for Craig Kimbrel. I’m pretty sure L.A. will be fine in the West, but then again, just winning the west is not the true challenge that faces them.

Phillies 7, Padres 5: Just-called-up rookie Adam Haseley drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning with his first big league hit. What a way to make a first impression. Well, second, as this was his second game, but you know what I mean. The Padres blew a 4-1 lead here thanks in part to yet another Jay Bruce homer and a three-run seventh inning that tied it to set up Haseley’s big hit.

Pirates 7, Braves 4: Pittsburgh wasn’t impressed with Kevin Gausman, beating him up for seven runs on 12 hits in five innings. Meanwhile, Joe Musgrove pitched into the ninth yielding only three runs and retiring 14 straight Braves batters at one point. Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco each had three hits for the Pirates.

Blue Jays 11, Yankees 7:  New York led 7-4 heading into the seventh inning. Toronto picked up two that frame to make it close and then exploded for five runs in the eighth thanks to homers from Randal Grichuk, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Brandon Drury. Grichuk had two on the day, actually. Vlad’s was a three-run shot. The Yankees bullpen gave up seven runs. New York has lost three straight.

Indians 9, Twins 7: Cleveland wins again, this time overcoming an early 5-1 deficit. Jordan Luplow hit a two-run homer to tie it in the seventh and then Roberto Pérez’ homered to put the Tribe ahead for good. Francsico Lindor added his third homer in the past two games for icing on the cake. Cleveland now trails the Twins by 9.5  games in the Central after taking the first two in this series.

Marlins 8, Brewers 3: It was 1-1 in the third when the Marlins loaded the bases against Jimmy Nelson, who was making his first start in pushing two years. Brian Anderson completed the rude welcome back on the Marlins part by hitting a grand slam. That, as they say, was basically that. Starlin Castro and Bryan Holaday each drove in two runs and Curtis Granderson had two hits. The Marlins have won four in a row.

Rangers 2, Orioles 1: Pretty shocking that an O’s-Rangers game could be tied 1-1 after 11 innings but here we were. Delino DeShields had four hits on the night with his last — a walkoff RBI single in the bottom of the 12th — being the biggest. This would’ve been a 1-0 win in regulation for Texas but rookie Richie Martin hit a solo homer to tie things up for Baltimore in the top of the ninth.

Cubs 9, Rockies 8: David Bote drove in seven of the Cubs’ nine runs on the night. He had four hits, including a three-run homer and bases-clearing double. Bote is hitting .451 with three homers and 13 RBI in his last 12 games. A win, and they signed Craig Kimbrel. Not a bad evening for the Cubs.

Angels 10, Athletics 9: Another walkoff as the Angels and A’s were knotted and nine in the ninth when Brian Goodwin singled, stole second base and then scored the winning run when Dustin Garneau hit a ground rule double. Earlier the Angels had been trailing by six runs, took a lead and then lost it to set this up.

Mariners 14, Astros 1: Not another shutout but it was a complete game for Mike Leake, who held the Astros to one run on six hits. Meanwhile his mates feasted on the Houston bullpen for 12 runs in the final three innings, seven in the sixth, five in the eighth. Edwin Encarnacion, Domingo Santana, Tom Murphy, Mac Williamson and Kyle Seager all homered. Houston’s five-game winning streak comes to an end thanks to their biggest blowout loss in six years.

Reds vs. Cardinals — POSTPONED:

Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, where have you been, my darling young one?
I’ve stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains
I’ve walked and I’ve crawled on six crooked highways
I’ve stepped in the middle of seven sad forests
I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
I’ve been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

Oh, what did you see, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what did you see, my darling young one?
I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it
I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin’
I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin’
I saw a white ladder all covered with water
I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

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.