Vogt hits home run, sacrifice fly as A’s beat Blue Jays 5-1

D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

OAKLAND, Calif. — Stephen Vogt cherished going to San Francisco Giants games on July 4 or Mother’s Day as a kid coming from Central California, and now he really appreciates playing on special holidays.

On Monday, the 37-year-old Vogt changed his walk-up music to “Born in the U.S.A.” by Bruce Springsteen and then swung for the fences.

“Just thankful for being born in the USA. It’s kind of corny. It’s always special to play on holidays but July 4th is always such a great day. I’m just thankful for that,” Vogt said. “There was a lot of memories of the good times. A packed crowd at the Coliseum – there’s no better place to play major league baseball than the Coliseum packed with fans. Clearly we fed off it tonight.”

Vogt’s family had just arrived for the summer, too, and he treated them to a home run and sacrifice fly on the Fourth of July as the Oakland Athletics beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-1 on Monday night.

“I’ll say he was born in the USA, that’s for sure,” winning pitcher Cole Irvin said. “I knew he was going to hit one today.”

Ramon Laureano also went deep and Elvis Andrus had an early two-run double to back Irvin’s gem for the A’s, who drew a season-high 24,403 fans on fireworks night.

Some of them chanted “We believe in Stephen Vogt!” in a chorus reminiscent of cheers that became popular during the veteran catcher’s first stint with the club that included some unexpected playoff heroics.

“The atmosphere is how it used to be,” said Vogt’s proud wife, Alyssa.

Irvin retired his first 11 batters before Vladimir Guerrero Jr. doubled in the fourth and Alejandro Kirk followed with a run-scoring single. A’s third baseman Vimael Machin then lunged to his right and snared a sharp grounder by Teoscar Hernandez to prevent more damage.

Irvin (3-6) struck out four and didn’t walk a batter over a season-best eight innings to earn his first win in nine starts since returning from the injured list May 22. He had been 0-5 during that stretch, with four straight losses.

Vogt did his part – again. In October 2013, he produced a game-winning hit in the playoffs for a 1-0 win against Justin Verlander and the Tigers that sent the best-of-five AL Division Series back to Detroit tied at 1.

Toronto right-hander Alek Manoah (9-3) was tagged for five runs and six hits in 5 2/3 innings. He missed a chance to tie Verlander, now with Houston, and Tony Gonsolin of the Dodgers for the major league lead in wins.

CHAPPY’S BACK

Former A’s star Matt Chapman received a warm ovation when he came to the plate for the first time for Toronto.

Before the game, Chapman returned to Oakland with his new team and found his way to the visitors’ clubhouse, where a picture greeted him in his locker.

He felt some emotion back in the Coliseum after the A’s traded him and Matt Olson in March. The A’s also lost Sean Manaea, Chris Bassitt and Mark Canha last offseason. Manager Bob Melvin left to lead the Padres.

“It’s tough because we were all together, we were all kind of making a run multiple years in a row and then it all happens really fast,” Chapman said. “It’s a big change of gears for everybody over there.”

He’s happy to be in Toronto now – and the Blue Jays are thrilled to have him.

“We love Matt Chapman,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. “We’ve gotten much better thanks to him.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: RHP Kevin Gausman, who took a comebacker off his right foot during a 6-2 loss to Tampa Bay in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, credits the padding on his cleats for protecting his ankle from serious damage. “I feel like I need to test it before I go out there and try to throw 100 pitches on it,” Gausman said. “You want to be able to test it, but then you also don’t want to do something while you’re testing it to kind of push that back any further.” He played catch and will do so again Tuesday before the Blue Jays determine his status to pitch Friday at Seattle. …. C Danny Jansen (pinkie fracture) was with Triple-A Buffalo on a rehab assignment. … RHP Yimi Garcia (back strain) struck out two in one clean inning at Buffalo.

Athletics: RHP Frankie Montas will undergo an MRI exam Tuesday on his pitching shoulder after he exited Sunday’s series finale at Seattle with inflammation. Manager Mark Kotsay sounded optimistic about Montas – the subject of trade speculation – being ready to take his next turn in the rotation. “Doing great. He doesn’t feel like this is a big issue, so that’s a positive,” Kotsay said. … RHP Dany Jimenez, who went on the 15-day injured list June 21 with a strained pitching shoulder, played catch and is set to begin a throwing progression.

UP NEXT

LHP Yusei Kikuchi (3-4, 3.74 ERA) takes the mound for Toronto on Tuesday having gone 1-0 with a 4.20 ERA over three starts vs. Oakland last year. He has a 3.19 ERA in nine career games against the A’s. RHP Adrian Martinez (1-1, 6.30) pitches the middle game of the series for the Athletics.

Texas Rangers ink free-agent ace Jacob deGrom to 5-year deal

Jacob deGrom
USA Today
0 Comments

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.