Red Sox win 8th straight on Fourth of July, beat Rays 4-0

Tampa Bay Rays vs. Boston Red Sox
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BOSTON – Trevor Story hit a solo homer, Kutter Crawford pitched 5 1/3 innings of two-hit relief and the Boston Red Sox won their eighth straight Fourth of July game, beating the Tampa Bay Rays 4-0 on Monday.

Franchy Cordero added an RBI single for the Red Sox, who won their second straight game and improved to just 9-16 against AL East rivals.

“Kutter gave us a lot, helped us out a lot in the pen there,” Story said. “He looked great.”

With a handful of its players wearing long sleeves with stars and stripes on a warm, sunny day, Boston matched its franchise record for consecutive July 4 wins, accomplished from 1901-04 and 1936-39, when teams played doubleheaders.

Tampa Bay had its three-game winning streak halted and lost a road series opener for the eighth straight time. The Rays had just two hits, both singles.

“Kutter Crawford, we’ve seen him twice now and he’s pitched really well against us,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “Big fastball, threw the breaking ball and had the cutter as well. We just couldn’t get anything going. Just never felt like we had a rhythm at the plate at all.”

Story put the Red Sox ahead in the fourth, driving a changeup from Josh Fleming (2-4) into the back of Boston’s bullpen for his 13th homer.

Boston went with a bullpen game because scheduled starter Michael Wacha was scratched Sunday with what manager Alex Cora called a dead arm. The Red Sox started Austin Davis for two hitless innings before using two more relievers.

Crawford (2-2) struck out eight and walked one and John Schreiber got five outs for his third save.

“I had pretty good command of all five of my pitches,” Crawford said. “I was just going right at guys. When I fell behind on the count, I got right back into it with the cutter or curveball. … The last couple of outings I figured something out that’s helped me mechanically.”

The Red Sox added a run in the fifth when Christian Arroyo doubled leading off, advanced on a groundout and scored when Rafael Devers was credited with an infield hit after second baseman Isaac Paredes bobbled his grounder trying to make a backhand pickup. Fleming booted a comebacker with the bases loaded for a run before Cordero’s single.

Fleming gave up four runs in five innings of relief.

TOUGH STRETCH

Boston opened a stretch of 27 games against teams with winning records.

“Just as important as the first 70 or whatever we played,” Cora said. “With our ups and downs and, obviously how we struggled early in the season, if you look at the standings, we are where we’re at.”

In addition to the Rays, Boston faces the Yankees, Houston, Milwaukee, Cleveland and Toronto during the run.

I’LL TAKE CARE OF IT

Tampa Bay’s Yandy Diaz got caught rounding first too wide on his bloop hit to right. Crawford, who came in to cover first, took the throw and sprinted after Diaz before making the tag himself.

“Yeah,” he said, breaking into a wide smile when asked if he was showing his 40-yard dash speed.

RAYS SHUFFLE ROSTER

In addition to Raley and Thompson returning, the Rays recalled LHP Josh Fleming from Triple-A Durham and returned RHP Phoenix Sanders and RHP Javy Guerra there. RHP Cristofer Ogando was optioned to Durham.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rays: Reinstated LHP Brooks Raley and RHP Ryan Thompson from the restricted list.

Red Sox: LHP Chris Sale (out since spring training, stress fracture in his ribcage) is set to make a rehab start for Triple-A Worcester on Wednesday. “Feels good,” Cora said. “One, maybe two more down there.” . Cora also said Wacha would be checked out. “We don’t believe there’s something structural there, just kind of like a dead arm,” the manager said. . Nathan Eovaldi (injured list, back) and Garrett Whitlock (IL, hip) are both slated to throw off the mound Tuesday.

UP NEXT

LHP Jeffrey Springs (3-2, 2.25 ERA) is scheduled to go for the Rays on Tuesday night. Boston RHP Nick Pivetta (8-5, 3.23) is 8-1 with a 1.95 ERA in his last 11 starts.

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.