Berríos ties career-high with 13 Ks, Jays beat Phillies 4-3

Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
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TORONTO – Jose Berrios matched his career high by striking out 13 over six innings, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. had four hits, including a go-ahead double in the sixth inning, and the Toronto Blue Jays snapped a four-game losing streak by beating the Philadelphia Phillies 4-3 Tuesday night.

Berrios (7-4) allowed three runs and six hits, improving to 5-0 in eight home starts. He struck out five in a row at one stretch, and fanned the final two batters he faced. He also struck out 13 in a seven-inning start against Minnesota, his former team, on June 4.

Tim Mayza worked the seventh, Yimi Garcia pitched the eighth, and Jordan Romano finished for his 19th save in 22 chances as Toronto opened a six-game homestand with a win after losing six of seven on a West Coast trip to Oakland and Seattle that ended Sunday. The Blue Jays were off Monday.

“This win means a lot for us,” Berrios said. “We got that off day, tried to turn that page. We came today and had the win we had tonight. We want to keep rolling like that through this last homestand before the All-Star break.”

Berrios is the third pitcher in Blue Jays history to strike out 13 or more and not walk a batter. Roger Clemens did it four times and Robbie Ray did it twice.

“That’s the guy that I saw in Minnesota,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said of Berrios. “First pitch strikes, using all his pitches and throwing all his pitches for strikes. You’ve got to give him credit. He was really good.”

Blue Jays catcher Danny Jansen, who was activated off the injured list before the game, said he enjoyed catching Berrios in his return.

“He was nasty out there,” Jansen said. “It was a lot of fun.”

Berrios finished a season-high 20 swings and misses, one shy of his career-best.

“That’s always how I’ve seen him pitch,” said Philadelphia shortstop Didi Gregorius, who faced Berrios frequently during his time with the Yankees.

Gurriel singled in the second, doubled and scored in the third, doubled home the go-ahead run in the sixth, and singled in the eighth for the fifth four-hit game of his career and first this season.

Bryson Stott hit a solo home run for the Phillies, who have lost three straight. Jeurys Familia (1-1) allowed one run and four hits in 1 1/3 innings.

Toronto’s Teoscar Hernandez hit a two-run double off Phillies opener Andrew Bellatti in the first, but was thrown out trying to stretch his hit into a triple.

Odubel Herrera halved the deficit with an RBI single in the second and Stott tied it with a two-out drive in the fourth, his fifth, ending Berrios’ streak of five straight strikeouts.

Gurriel and Matt Chapman restored Toronto’s lead with back-to-back doubles off Mark Appel in the fourth before Nick Castellanos tied it at 3 with a two-out RBI single in the fifth.

Gurriel gave the Blue Jays the lead for good with a ground-rule double to left off Familia in the sixth, scoring Alejandro Kirk.

The Phillies were without J.T. Realmuto, Alec Bohm, Aaron Nola and Kyle Gibson for the opener of the two-game series due to Canadian restrictions on unvaccinated travelers. Nola started on the mound for Philadelphia’s game Monday night at St. Louis and was not scheduled to pitch against the Blue Jays. Bohm came out of Monday’s game with a dislocated left ring finger.

MAKING CANADA PROUD

Thomson became the first Canadian to manage a Major League Baseball game in his home country. Thomson from Sarnia, Ontario, was promoted from his role as bench coach to interim manager after Joe Girardi was fired on June 3. That made Thomson the first Canadian-born manager in the big leagues since Pittsburgh’s George Gibson in 1934.

DERBY DATE

Schwarber, who entered play Tuesday with an NL-high 28 home runs, said he’ll participate in next week’s All-Star Home Run Derby.

“He pretty much does a home run derby every day,” Thomson said.

ONE-DERFUL

The Blue Jays are 20-14 in one-run games. Toronto’s 20 wins in one-run games leads the majors.

NOT SO ONE-DERFUL

Philadelphia is 9-15 in one-run games. The Phillies are the NL’s second-worst team in one-run games. Only San Francisco (10-18) is worse.

CATCH OF THE DAY

Blue Jays CF George Springer made a diving catch on the warning track to retire Schwarber for the first out of the fifth. Berrios tipped his cap in appreciation of the fine grab.

Thomson said Springer’s catch “kind of hurt our momentum a little bit.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Phillies: Thomson said Bohm, who dislocated his finger on a slide Monday, is still in pain but that the swelling has subsided.

Blue Jays: RHP Kebvin Gausman (right ankle) threw a bullpen session before the game and hopes to return during the upcoming series against Kansas City. Gausman has not pitched since taking a 100 mile per hour line drive off his ankle on July 2.

ROSTER MOVES

Phillies: Philadelphia recalled C Rafael Marchan and selected RHP Nick Duron from Triple-A Lehigh Valley as substitute players. Bohm, RHP Gibson, RHP Nola and C Realmuto were placed on the restricted list. Nola cannot be replaced this series. Gibson, who pitched Saturday, can be replaced Wednesday. The four restricted list players will rejoin the Phillies in Miami, where a three-game series against the Marlins begins Friday.

Blue Jays: Toronto activated Jansen (fractured finger) off the injured list and optioned C Gabriel Moreno to Triple-A Buffalo.

UP NEXT

Phillies RHP Zack Wheeler (8-4, 2.46) starts Wednesday against Blue Jays RHP Ross Stripling (4-3, 3.34). Wheeler hasn’t allowed a run in either of his past two starts, tossing seven scoreless innings in back-to-back wins over St. Louis.

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.