Gilbert wins 10th, surging Mariners sweep sliding Padres

Seattle Mariners v Miami Marlins
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SAN DIEGO – Logan Gilbert earned his 10th win to tie for the major league lead, Sam Haggerty hit his first home run in over two months and the Seattle Mariners beat the San Diego Padres 6-2 on Tuesday.

The Mariners, who have won 12 of their last 15 games, swept the two-game set to win their fifth consecutive series. Seattle (41-42) moved within one game of .500 for the first time since May 4.

“We played really good baseball for a couple of days against a team that is having a very good year,? Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “We’re starting to get things going on our side.?

Haggerty had three hits, Dylan Moore doubled twice and hot-hitting rookie Julio Rodriguez had two singles for Seattle. Haggerty and Rodriguez also both stole a base – Moore, meanwhile, was twice caught stealing.

“We do it with the names that are out there,? Servias said. “They understand who they are and that’s what it takes to put good streaks together. We can talk about Julio all you want and it’s great and he’s awesome. But it’s the other guys around him that are making things happen so he doesn’t have to do it every day.?

The Padres have lost nine of 12.

Gilbert (10-3) allowed one earned run and six hits in 5 1/3 innings. He walked three, struck out one and has a 2.61 ERA.

Gilbert, who is seeking his first All-Star selection, matched Houston’s Justin Verlander and the Dodgers’ Tony Gonsolin atop the big league win chart. He was more efficient than electric, and that was fine by Gilbert.

“I don’t think I had my best stuff today but I was just trying to find a way to get out and be competitive,” Gilbert said.

He wiggled from a massive jam in the second when the Padres loaded the bases with no outs.

Last year, Gilbert might have wobbled. This year, he went to work and escaped unscathed after getting a groundout from Austin Nola and flyballs from Trent Grisham and C.J. Abrams.

“That’s the difference,? Gilbert said. “Just taking a breath and understanding I have everything that I need out there. It’s just a matter of executing and believing in myself, knowing that I can get out of things like that.?

Mike Clevinger (2-1) gave up four runs and six hits over six innings. With the Padres’ offensive struggles, that was enough for the Mariners – San Diego has scored 10 runs in six games, with four coming in the ninth inning on Sunday.

The Padres left 11 runners on base and went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

Clevinger retired the initial eight batters before Haggerty’s first home run since April 24 gave Seattle a 1-0 lead in the third. Haggerty sprinted around the bases almost as quickly as his shot left the yard.

“I’m just fast and I kept running,? he said.

Seattle scored three times in the fourth for a 4-1 lead. Moore hit a two-run double and Haggerty had an RBI single.

The Padres got a run in the third on a rare error by the Mariners, who entered the game with 28 miscues, the fewest in the majors. With two on, Eric Hosmer hit a grounder that ricocheted off second baseman Adam Frazier‘s glove.

Nomar Mazara had three of San Diego’s eight hits.

The Mariners head home with a renewed confidence that their season which started slowing is gathering momentum.

“We’re playing well right now,? Gilbert said. “When we were going through a little rough stretch earlier, getting a ton of questions about it, I don’t think anybody really panicked. We know the baseball we can play. We know we’re really good.?

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mariners: 1B Ty France (elbow) is expected to be activated for this weekend’s series against Toronto.

Padres: LHP Adrian Morejon (shoulder) will begin a rehab stint with Triple-A El Paso and could return prior to the All-Star break.

UP NEXT

Mariners: After Wednesday’s day off, Seattle LHP Marco Gonzalez (4-9) faces the visiting Blue Jays to start a four-game series.

Padres: San Diego resumes play on Thursday when RHP Joe Musgrove (8-2) goes against the San Francisco Giants in the opener of a four-game series at home.

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.