Best-in-MLB Yanks top worst-in-majors A’s 9-5 on late rally

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK — The New York Yankees lived up to expectations, even trailing by four runs.

Unfortunately for Oakland, the Athletics also played to pattern.

Two catcher’s interference calls, a hit batter and a walk sparked a bizarre six-run seventh inning highlighted by Josh Donaldson‘s go-ahead, two-run double that lifted best-in-the-majors New York over big-league-worst Oakland 9-5 Monday night.

“We’ve done it a lot of different ways this year,” Donaldson said after the Yankees’ major league-high 23rd come-from-behind win. “I think that was a first for me.”

Following a comeback against Tampa Bay and two vs. Houston, the Yankees for the first time in their history overcame three-run deficits for wins four times in a six-game span, according to STATS.

Coming off a series in Kansas City that ended with Oakland’s first back-to-back wins in a month, the A’s built a 5-1 lead against Jordan Montgomery behind Elvis Andrus‘ tiebreaking, three-run double in a five-run third inning.

Giancarlo Stanton‘s fourth-inning home run and Aaron Judge‘s fifth-inning RBI single after DJ LeMahieu‘s stolen base started the comeback against Paul Blackburn. Oakland went to the middle of its bullpen in the sixth after using closer Lou Trivino and setup man Zach Jackson the previous two days.

“Knowing they probably have a couple of their high-leverage guys down,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said, “it was probably going to be a little bit of a challenge for them to piece it together there at the end.”

With Oakland ahead 5-3, LeMahieu walked against Adam Oller with one out in the seventh. Judge hit a grounder to third, perhaps hard enough for a double play, but plate umpire Manny Gonzalez immediately signaled interference on catcher Sean Murphy.

A.J. Puk (1-1) hit Anthony Rizzo on the right elbow with his first pitch, loading the bases, and when Stanton fouled off a 1-0 pitch, Boone asked for a video review that led to another interference call on Murphy. The previous time a big league team got two catcher’s interference calls in an inning involved Judge and Stanton, with Baltimore’s Pedro Severino charged on July 29, 2020.

“That’s a terrible mistake, terrible mistakes. I feel bad for my pitchers,” said Murphy, a 2021 Gold Glove catcher. “Too close. Those are big guys. I got to know they have long swings. I got to back up.”

Donaldson lined an 0-2 fastball at the letters into left for a 6-5 lead, Jose Trevino hit another two-run double with two outs against Austin Pruitt and scored on Marwin Gonzalez‘s single.

Coming off a four-game split with AL West leader Houston, New York improved to 54-20 while Oakland is just 25-50 and has lost 21 of its last 25.

“Coming off a huge series like that,” Rizzo said, “it could have been easy for Monty to give up five there and us roll over, and that’s not going to happen.”

Albert Abreu (1-0) struck out four in 2 1/3 hitless innings for his first win since returning to the Yankees, who claimed him off waivers from Kansas City on June 21.

“I had lost my confidence,” Abreu said through a translator. “Just walking into the stadium here, walking through those doors, I felt a rush of energy, positive energy, and it just let me know this is where I belong.”

While the Yankees lead the majors in scoring and home runs, Oakland is 29th in both and is last in batting average, slugging percentage and on-base percentage. The ERA of its bullpen rose to 4.57, 26th in the majors.

Oakland tied it in the third when Ramon Laureano’s drive with two on hit the top of the 8-foot, 5-inch wall in left and bounced back into the field. Christian Bethancourt, who started on first, jogged to third and failed to score.

Andrus put the A’s ahead 4-1, improving to .325 with 115 RBIs in 151 bases-loaded at-bats and scored on Sheldon Neuse‘s single as Oakland tied its season high with a five-run inning.

Montgomery gave up all five runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings.

“I’m still sick about the third inning,” he said.

LONG BALLS

Rizzo ended an 0-for-19 slide in the first, reaching 20 home runs for the ninth season with a solo shot that gave him 50 RBIs. He said his arm went numb when he was hit by Puk’s 95 mph pitch but felt like he would be able to play Tuesday. … Stanton’s homer was his 18th. He is in a 5-for-44 slide, but all five hits have been home runs.

SLUMPING

Joey Gallo is hitless in 25 at-bats, dropping his average to .169.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Athletics: OF Jonah Bride was out of the starting lineup, one day after hurting his right shoulder and cutting his nose during a collision with Chad Pinder. … OF Stephen Piscotty, sidelined since May 6 by strained left calf, will rejoin the team Tuesday and could be activated by Wednesday’s series finale.

Yankees: 2B Gleyber Torres‘ sprained right ankle was doing fine, Boone said, but Torres likely won’t swing a bat until Wednesday after getting a cortisone injection Monday in his sore right wrist. … SS Isiah Kiner-Falefa was out of the starting lineup after bruising a nail while successfully bunting in the 10th inning Sunday. … LHP Aroldis Chapman (left Achilles tendinitis) is to make a third minor league rehabilitation appearance, on Tuesday for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, then will be activated.

UP NEXT

LHP JP Sears (2-0, 0.00) will be recalled from Scranton to make his second big league start on Tuesday night. Sears is 1-1 with a 1.83 ERA in eight starts and two relief appearances at Triple-A this year. Oakland RHP Frankie Montas (3-7, 3.21) is being scouted by teams ahead of the Aug. 2 trade deadline.

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.