Dodgers beat Rockies 2-1 on Betts’ infield single in 9th

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LOS ANGELES — Cody Bellinger scored the winning run on Mookie Betts‘ infield single with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, and the Los Angeles Dodgers edged the Colorado Rockies 2-1 to complete a three-game sweep.

Dodgers starter Mitch White and three relievers combined to allow only one hit – a single by Brendan Rodgers in the sixth.

Bellinger, who had three hits, and Gavin Lux opened the ninth with back-to-back singles. Lux hit a bleeder to the open left side of the infield with the shift on that allowed Bellinger to reach third.

The Rockies then went to a five-man infield, bringing in center fielder Garrett Hampson and leaving only Kris Bryant and Charlie Blackmon to patrol the outfield. Pinch-hitter Will Smith drew a walk to load the bases for Betts with nobody out.

Betts hit a bouncer over the head of reliever Daniel Bard (3-3). Two infielders converged on the ball just behind the mound, and shortstop Jose Iglesias was unable to handle it cleanly as he tried to make a quick play to the plate with his momentum carrying him toward first base.

“We don’t practice the five-man infield very often,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “Iglesias is incredible with the glove. There was a little confusion there, you could see he just couldn’t come up with it clean. I don’t think it was one of Mookie’s best at-bats, but we’ll take the result.”

The speedy Bellinger dashed home safely, and Los Angeles improved to 5-8 in one-run games this season.

“It didn’t look pretty but the job got done,” Betts said after his first walk-off hit with the Dodgers. “I’m always thinking put the ball in play and see what happens.”

Los Angeles closer Craig Kimbrel (2-4) returned after taking a line drive off his back last week and retired the side in the ninth for the win.

The Dodgers, who finished with nine hits, had runners on first and second in the eighth when Jake Lamb took a called third strike to end the inning.

Los Angeles tied it 1-all in the seventh. With two outs, Bellinger and Lux singled back-to-back and Austin Barnes got hit in the back by a pitch from Jake Bird to load the bases. Bird threw a wild pitch that allowed Bellinger to score before Betts grounded out to end the inning.

After failing to get a hit off White through five innings, the Rockies took a 1-0 lead in the sixth. Bryant walked and Rodgers singled to center, with Bryant scoring on a throwing error by Bellinger.

White gave up one unearned run in 5 2/3 innings. The right-hander struck out six and walked four on a season-high 102 pitches.

“It’s really good to see Mitch come into his own,” Roberts said.

Rockies starter Jose Urena allowed one run and five hits in 6 2/3 innings. The right-hander struck out two and walked three after being called up from Triple A-Albuquerque earlier in the day.

“He really made pitches when he needed to,” Colorado manager Bud Black said. “He ended up throwing strikes when he needed to. He got some groundball outs and double plays, which was important for him.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Dodgers: OF Chris Taylor went on the injured list for the second time in his career with a fracture in the arch of his left foot. Roberts said it’s “a safe bet” Taylor won’t be back before the All-Star break. Taylor got hurt last weekend and left Monday’s game with swelling. … RHP Blake Treinen (right shoulder) will throw 25 pitches off a mound Thursday.

UP NEXT

Rockies: LHP Austin Gomber (4-7, 6.53 ERA) starts Thursday at Arizona in the opener of a four-game set. He returned to the rotation last week after two appearances in relief. He’s 2-0 with a 4.67 ERA in four career appearances against the Diamondbacks.

Dodgers: RHP Tony Gonsolin (10-0, 1.54) starts Thursday against the Cubs. His ERA leads the majors.

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

Jacob deGrom
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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.