Jesse Winker drives in 2 runs, Mariners beat Orioles 2-0

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
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SEATTLE — Jesse Winker drove in two runs with a go-ahead double in the eighth, Robbie Ray allowed just one hit over seven scoreless innings and the Seattle Mariners beat the Baltimore Orioles 2-0 Tuesday night.

Winker’s go-ahead hit came with two outs against Felix Bautista and hit the right-center field wall, driving in J.P. Crawford and Julio Rodriguez for the two-run lead. One play before, Rodriguez reached first base on an infield single by diving to avoid the tag from Bautista, and then scored on Winker’s hit, which was nearly caught by right fielder Austin Hays.

“I wanted to definitely come through right there, and I was happy that I did,” Winker said. “But that inning doesn’t happen without (Crawford) and (Rodriguez), obviously. So hats off to them, and it was a good game for us.”

Both teams struggled at the plate early, before the Mariners finally broke through in the eighth.

The Orioles’ only hit in the game came with one out in the fourth when Ryan Mountcastle lined a single into center field off Ray. Ray pitched seven scoreless innings, with three walks and eight strikeouts on 98 pitches but didn’t figure in the decision.

“We only had one hit tonight,” Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said. “Robbie Ray was really good, really tough to get a hit off of tonight.”

In his past four games, the left-handed Ray has allowed two earned runs, 11 hits, seven walks, and three hit batters over 27 innings, with 28 strikeouts.

“Robbie Ray continues to keep rolling along,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “The last four starts have just been electric, what he’s been able to do. Really credit to him to make adjustments, because he has and it carried into the games. He did a heck of a job tonight.”

Ray credits much of his recent success to the addition of a two-seam fastball to his arsenal. He has been dominant since adding the pitch in a start against the Astros earlier this month.

“I feel like everything’s going really good,” Ray said. “Obviously, the introduction of the two-seam has been huge for me. I think it’s just opened up the entire plate. It’s made my four-seam (fastball), my slider, everything, better. But yeah, I think there is still room for improvement.”

The Mariners failed to muster any run support for Ray. Orioles’ starter Dean Kremer kept the Mariners off the board with seven scoreless innings of his own. Kremer allowed four hits with four strikeouts and two walks on 97 pitches. Kremer’s outing was the first time an Orioles’ pitcher has thrown seven scoreless innings since John Means‘ no-hitter against the Mariners on May 5, 2021.

The Mariners threatened in the bottom of the fourth, loading the bases with one out. But Taylor Trammell grounded into an inning-ending double play.

Diego Castillo (5-1) pitched a scoreless eighth inning for the Mariners. The third out in the inning came when first baseman Carlos Santana leaped for a high throw from Eugenio Suarez and tagged out Austin Hays while in the air.

Paul Sewald pitched a scoreless ninth and earned his seventh save.

Cionel Perez (4-1) took the loss.

NOTES

Mariners right fielder Taylor Trammell left the game with a right hamstring strain after grounding into an inning-ending double play in the fourth inning. Trammell was replaced in right field by Dylan Moore in the top of the fifth, and will undergo an MRI on Wednesday.

ROSTER MOVES

Seattle added INF Carlos Santana to its roster, and sent INF Drew Ellis to Triple-A Tacoma. Seattle acquired Santana and cash from the Kansas City Royals on Monday in a trade for RHP Wyatt Mills and minor league RHP William Fleming. Santana hit fifth in the lineup and played 1B for the Mariners on Tuesday.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mariners: OF Mitch Haniger took on-field batting practice for the first time since suffering a Grade 2 ankle sprain on April 29, but said that the biggest test in his eventual return will be sprinting and agility work. Haniger is hoping to be back in mid-July. . OF Kyle Lewis (concussion) took batting practice Tuesday. There is still no timeline for his return, but Servais said Monday that Lewis is getting close to going on a minor-league rehab assignment.

Orioles: INF Ramon Urias (oblique) took infield and batting practice Tuesday. Manager Brandon Hyde is hopeful that Urias won’t be out much longer, though he cautioned that oblique injuries are “always a little bit tricky.”

UP NEXT

Mariners: Seattle will start RHP Chris Flexen (3-8, 4.31) on Wednesday in the series finale. Flexen got the win against the Angels in his last start on June 24, going five innings while allowing five hits and three earned runs.

Orioles: Baltimore’s starter for Wednesday will be RHP Austin Voth, a Kent, Washington, native who will be making his third start of the season. Voth has a 7.81 ERA in 27 ? innings pitched so far this year.

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.