Robert leads 17-hit White Sox attack in 11-4 win over Halos

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Josh Harrison and Luis Robert hit two-run homers during Chicago’s five-run fifth inning, and the White Sox pounded out 17 hits in an 11-4 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday night.

Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada had RBI doubles during a five-run seventh for the White Sox, who rallied from an early three-run deficit with multi-hit games from seven batters to win for only the second time in seven games.

“You’re down three, and I think everybody was collectively saying, `We’re not doing this to (starter) Johnny (Cueto) again,” Chicago manager Tony La Russa said. “Our guys were relentless. Shows what we can do.”

Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani hit back-to-back homers in the third inning for Los Angeles, which has lost five of eight on its brawl-marred homestand. Ohtani went 3 for 3 with a walk, two doubles and two RBIs on the night before his next mound start.

Cueto (2-4) recovered from yielding three homers in a shaky third to pitch six innings of seven-hit ball.

“I told them, `Let’s hit homers,”‘ Cueto said of his dugout conversations with his teammates. “Let’s put the ball in the air, because it’s carrying today. Those homers got me going, and then I was able to execute.”

Robert’s majestic 448-foot shot off Oliver Ortega (1-3) highlighted Chicago’s dismantling of the Halos’ perpetually poor pitching staff. Robert, Tim Anderson and Abreu all had three hits, and Harrison drove in three runs.

“To have a day like today is good for everybody,” Robert said through a translator. “That doesn’t mean we’re going to have this day tomorrow, but we’re going to try.”

Angels rookie Chase Silseth largely cruised through the first four innings of his fifth big league start, but Chicago abruptly chased him in the fifth. Seby Zavala had an RBI double before Harrison tied it with just his second homer of the season.

Between injuries for a handful of relievers, two underperforming starters being sent to the minors and top relievers Ryan Tepera and Raisel Iglesias currently appealing suspensions, the Angels will be scrambling for any competent pitching outside their top four starters in the next few weeks.

“When you’re playing down a man at any position, it makes it more challenging, but I still felt good about where we were,” Angels bench coach Ray Montgomery said. “It got (away) quick there, as the rallies tend to do. A couple different pitches, some different bounces and execution, and it goes another way.”

Chicago sent 11 batters to the plate in the seventh, which could have been even bigger if Jaime Barria hadn’t struck out Anderson and Robert with the bases loaded to end it.

Trout was visibly frustrated in center field while Angels reliever Elvis Peguero was on the mound in the seventh. The three-time MVP appeared to signal to the Angels’ dugout that Peguero was tipping his pitches while he allowed four runs on two hits and two walks.

Peguero confirmed that Trout alerted him about the pitch-tipping during the game.

BIG FLIES

Andrew Velazquez homered in the second before Trout and Ohtani connected, giving the Angels three homers in nine pitches by Cueto. Two pitches after Trout put his 23rd homer down the left field line, Ohtani blasted his 17th – and fourth of the Angels’ homestand – with a 115.2-mph exit velocity.

The Angels’ former MVPs homered in consecutive at-bats for the fifth time in their careers and the second time this season.

INTERIM INTERIM

The Angels played their second game after their massive brawl with the Seattle Mariners and the subsequent suspensions, some of which are being appealed. Montgomery again served as interim manager Phil Nevin’s replacement.

TRAINER’S ROOM

White Sox: Moncada went 2 for 5 with two RBIs after coming off the injured list earlier Tuesday. He had been out since June 18 with a strained right hamstring.

Angels: LF Brandon Marsh left with a bruised right knee in the sixth. … Reliever Archie Bradley will be out likely for two months after breaking a bone in his elbow while falling off the dugout railing during the brawl last Sunday. … RHP Jimmy Herget has been shut down again while recovering from a right shoulder impingement. He went on the injured list a week ago.

UP NEXT

Ohtani (6-4, 2.90 ERA) returns to the mound for the Halos’ homestand finale after throwing eight innings of scoreless two-hit ball with a career-high 13 strikeouts last week against Kansas City. He’ll face Chicago’s Michael Kopech (2-4, 2.59), who is coming off back-to-back losses.

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.