After suspensions, Angels rally for 4-3 win over White Sox

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Los Angeles Angels found out they’ll pay a hefty price in suspensions for Sunday’s big brawl with Seattle. In the short term, though, it seems that’s galvanized a struggling ballclub.

Taylor Ward hit a go-ahead double in the seventh inning Monday night and the Angels rallied for a 4-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox. Not only was it Los Angeles’ second consecutive one-run win, it marked the first time in nearly five weeks the Halos won back-to-back home games.

“It feels really nice,” said Brandon Marsh, who had three hits and a sliding catch in the sixth inning to rob Luis Robert of at least a single. “It shows the trust we have in the bullpen and all the starters.”

Noah Syndergaard snapped his four-game losing streak and struck out seven for the Angels, who won for only the fifth time in their last 19 home games.

The victory capped a hectic day. Less than two hours before the game, the Angels learned a total of nine players and coaches were suspended by Major League Baseball for their roles in Sunday’s nasty fight with the Mariners.

Bench coach Ray Montgomery took over for interim manager Phil Nevin, who began serving his 10-game suspension.

“I would like to say it’s just like being in that position when I’m standing there with Phil or anyone else – but it’s not obviously,” Montgomery said. “People are looking to you to be prepared. You have a responsibility to those guys (the players) and want to make sure that they have what they need.”

Assistant pitching coach Dom Chiti (five games), pitcher Andrew Wantz (three games) and major league interpreter Manny Del Campo (two games) also began their suspensions. Montgomery will serve a two-game ban when Chiti returns.

Gavin Sheets had two hits for the White Sox, who have dropped five of six. Lucas Giolito pitched six solid innings but did not factor in the decision.

“He ended up in a really good spot this time to get them, but there’s a position where the game breaks your heart and we couldn’t hold it for him,” manager Tony La Russa said.

The White Sox went ahead 3-2 in the seventh on Josh Harrison‘s RBI single before the Angels regained the lead in the home half.

Max Stassi drew a leadoff walk from Reynaldo Lopez (4-2) and moved to second on Marsh’s single. Pinch-runner Monte Harrison and Marsh advanced on Andrew Velazquez‘s sacrifice bunt before Ward hit a two-run double off the wall in right-center that was just beyond Robert’s reach.

Syndergaard (5-6) allowed three runs and six hits in seven innings for his first victory since May 24 against Texas.

Raisel Iglesias worked the ninth for his 14th save.

“Probably one of the best ones I’ve had all year,” Syndergaard said. “Everything’s getting better. I am trusting my delivery instead of just trying to be too fine with things.”

Syndergaard retired the first nine White Sox hitters before Tim Anderson singled leading off the fourth.

The Angels got on the board with two outs in the second when Jared Walsh scored after a long fly ball hit by Marsh went in and out of Sheets’ glove near the right-field wall. The ball deflected off the top of the short fence in the corner but stayed in play. It originally was ruled a home run, but got overturned to a triple.

Marsh scored when Velazquez hit a grounder up the middle that deflected off Giolito’s foot into shallow right field for a hit.

The White Sox tied it in the sixth on RBI doubles by Andrew Vaughn and Jose Abreu.

CENTURY MARK

Anderson stole second in the fourth inning to become the 31st player in White Sox history with 100 stolen bases. Anderson, in his seventh year with Chicago, is 10 for 10 on steals this season.

TRAINER’S ROOM

White Sox: 3B Yoan Moncada (right hamstring strain) worked out before the game with the anticipation he will return to the lineup Tuesday. … RHP Liam Hendriks (right forearm strain) threw a bullpen, but there’s still no decision on whether he will go on a rehab assignment.

Angels: INF Matt Duffy was placed on the 10-day injured list due to low back spasms. C Matt Thaiss was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake.

UP NEXT

White Sox: RHP Johnny Cueto (1-4, 3.19) is 4-0 with a 1.34 ERA in five career starts against the Angels.

Angels: A starter had not been announced for Tuesday, but rookie RHP Chase Silseth (1-2, 4.96 ERA) is part of the team’s taxi squad and could be activated.

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.