Kuhl tosses 3-hit shutout, Rockies beat Dodgers 4-0 at Coors

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
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DENVER — Chad Kuhl crouched in a tunnel at Coors Field, sharing the moment with his parents on a FaceTime call as his phone kept buzzing with other messages of congratulations.

The fact that the best start of his career came against the powerful Los Angeles Dodgers only made the night even more special.

Kuhl pitched a three-hitter for his first major league shutout and the Colorado Rockies beat Los Angeles 4-0 on Monday.

“We all want to win, but it’s just been one of those personal goals for me,” Kuhl said. “And not just a complete game, but just going long time in, time out.”

Jose Iglesias hit a two-run homer and the Rockies handed Tyler Anderson (8-1) his first loss in 12 starts and two relief appearances this season. Kris Bryant went 1 for 4 in his return to the lineup after missing more than a month with a lower back strain.

Kuhl (5-5) was sharp after giving up 11 runs over 14 1/3 innings in his previous three starts. He struck out five and didn’t walk a batter in the longest outing of his career.

His previous best was 7 1/3 innings against Cincinnati on April 30.

“It was amazing,” Iglesias said. “Him and (catcher Elias) Diaz were connected. He threw the ball really well against a good lineup.”

Kuhl allowed just two singles through eight innings – and one was erased on a double play. Gavin Lux led off the ninth with a double but was stranded at second.

When center fielder Yonathan Daza caught Freddie Freeman‘s drive to end a game that took only 2 hours, 19 minutes, Kuhl pumped his fist and hugged Diaz.

“It’s finally the time to celebrate the accomplishment,” he said.

It was the 27th individual shutout in the history of hitter-friendly Coors Field.

“You don’t see that every game,” Colorado manager Bud Black said. “It doesn’t happen. So, impressive.”

Bryant, who hadn’t played since May 22, finished with a single in four at-bats. He flied out to the warning track in right field his first time to the plate and singled his next time up.

The Rockies scored in the first on C.J. Cron‘s RBI single and added another run in the second on a single by Diaz.

Iglesias doubled the lead with his first home run of the season in the sixth.

Anderson allowed four runs and 10 hits in six innings.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Dodgers: Manager Dave Roberts said OF/INF Zach McKinstry (stiff neck) will likely remain out for a little while. “I talked with him earlier today and he still didn’t have much range of motion,” Roberts said. “We’ll probably give it another couple of days.” … OF Mookie Betts (right rib fracture) has not begun baseball activities yet.

Rockies: Activated LHP Ty Blach from the 15-day injured list and placed INF/OF Sean Bouchard on the 10-day IL with an oblique strain.

SECOND CHAIR

Roberts was picked to be a coach for NL All-Star manager Brian Snitker of the Atlanta Braves at next month’s showcase in Los Angeles. Roberts, the NL manager for the past three All-Star Games, is excited about the role.

“There’s no stress. I’m looking forward to it. Even if we don’t win the game, National League, it’s not on my shoulders,” he said. “I’m 0-3. I think it’s just basically you can be a fan. You have the opportunity to be around the game’s best and watch the game’s best perform. So it’s something I don’t take for granted and I’m going to enjoy it as a coach and as a fan.”

CUP FAVORITE

A cheer went up through the crowd of 38,706 at Coors Field when the big screen showed pictures of Colorado Avalanche players skating with the Stanley Cup on Sunday night in Tampa, Fla.

Colorado beat the Lightning 2-1 in Game 6 to capture the third Stanley Cup title in franchise history and the first since 2001.

UP NEXT

Dodgers LHP Clayton Kershaw (5-1, 2.00) faces Rockies LHP Kyle Freeland (3-5, 4.29) on Tuesday night.

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.