Mets rally in 9th, score 5 in 10th to beat Reds 8-3

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
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CINCINNATI — Brandon Nimmo‘s three-run homer capped a five-run 10th inning and the New York Mets came back late to beat the Cincinnati Reds 8-3 on Wednesday night.

Starling Marte grounded an RBI double over third base off Hunter Strickland with one out in the ninth, scoring Nimmo from first to tie the game at 3.

Dominic Smith‘s double off Dauri Moreta (0-2) drove home pinch-runner Ender Inciarte from second base with the go-ahead run in the 10th. James McCann delivered an RBI single before Nimmo’s shot sent the NL East leaders to their 20th series win this season – they took two of three from the last-place Reds.

“Even though it’s Cincinnati and it’s a hitter’s ballpark, it’s huge,” Nimmo said. “We know we’re a good offense but we also faced good pitching the last few days. We know we’re capable of it. This does nothing but add confidence to the offense and for the guys in the clubhouse.”

Pete Alonso went 4 for 5 with a double. Nimmo had three hits and scored three times from the leadoff spot as New York remained 2 1/2 games ahead of second-place Atlanta.

A loss would have left the Mets with their slimmest lead since April 16.

Adam Ottavino (3-2) struck out two in a hitless ninth for the win.

Nick Senzel hit a two-run homer for the Reds, who have the worst record in the National League.

“You have to play all nine innings, sometimes 10,” Cincinnati manager David Bell said. “That’s what we did and that’s what the Mets did. They got us tonight, but we gave ourselves a chance to win.”

Facing a hard-throwing rookie for the third straight day, the Mets couldn’t get much going against Graham Ashcraft, who allowed 10 hits but only two runs in six innings.

Cincinnati threw Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo and Ashcraft in succession against the Mets, who were shut out 1-0 on Tuesday night.

“They made us scratch and claw this entire series,” Nimmo said. “Hats off to those starters we faced the past few days. It was really important to pull it out at the end today.”

Mets lefty David Peterson came off the paternity list to pitch following the birth of his son, but his first career start against Cincinnati lasted only 3 2/3 innings. He allowed three earned runs and walked five.

Senzel, who had one homer through his first 181 at-bats this season, homered for the second time in three games to put the Reds ahead 2-1 in the second.

Adonis Medina permitted only one hit in three scoreless innings of relief to keep it a one-run game. But the Mets didn’t break through against the worst bullpen in baseball until the ninth.

“We had a lot of hits, a lot of opportunities. It was frustrating not to be able to break through,” manager Buck Showalter said. “We’re getting people out there and just not cashing in. It’s a good win for the trip back home tonight.”

New York’s only runs prior to the ninth came on Jeff McNeil‘s RBI single in the first and a broken-bat single by Tomas Nido that drove home a run in the fourth.

Things got testy in the 10th when Moreta brushed back Eduardo Escobar with a pitch, but both players were restrained before any others left the dugouts.

PROUD PAPA

After a whirlwind week with the birth of his son, Peterson was able to throw a bullpen and get one good night’s sleep before Wednesday’s start. “I was able to get in a decent time last night and catch up on some sleep,” he said. “I’m glad my wife and him are healthy and everything’s good back home. He’s a blessing. Being a father is the most amazing thing that’s happened to me.”

NO SLEEP ‘TIL FLUSHING

Showalter wasn’t happy the Mets had a night game in Cincinnati before starting a four-game home series Thursday night against Miami. “I don’t know how they get away with that,” he said. “The schedule is what it is. I don’t think it’s good for the game, quite frankly. Still a great way to make a living, even if you don’t sleep.”

Thursday’s starter, Trevor Williams, traveled back to New York ahead of the team.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets: RHP Chris Bassitt remains on track to start Friday against the Marlins at Citi Field. Bassitt was placed on the COVID-19 injured list last Friday.

Reds: 1B Joey Votto did not play due to tightness in his lower back. … RHP Tyler Mahle has a strained right shoulder and was placed on the 15-day IL, retroactive to Sunday. … DH Jonathan India was hit on the left ankle by a pitch leading off the game and exited an inning later. X-rays were negative.

UP NEXT

Mets: Williams (1-5, 4.34 ERA) pitches Thursday night against Miami at Citi Field.

Reds: LHP Mike Minor will start the first game of Thursday’s doubleheader against the Pirates, which makes up a May 6 postponement. The starter for Game 2 is undetermined after Mahle went on the IL.

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.