Urías stars as Orioles beat Cubs 4-2 for 9th straight win

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

CHICAGO – Ramon Urias hit a two-run homer and made a big defensive play, and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Chicago Cubs 4-2 on Tuesday night for their ninth straight victory.

Jorge Mateo also homered as Baltimore (44-44) reached .500 for the first time this season. It’s the longest win streak for the Orioles since the franchise won 13 straight in September 1999.

“The last couple of seasons didn’t go well; a lot of losses,” Urias said. “And, of course we’re enjoying this time.”

Baltimore right-hander Jordan Lyles (6-7) pitched seven innings of two-run ball in his second straight win. Jorge Lopez, the Orioles’ lone All-Star selection, worked the ninth for his 17th save in 21 chances.

“We’re playing baseball all around,” Lyles said. “Some games we’re throwing it lights out; some days we’re mashing it, getting extra-base hits one after the other. That’s the sign of a good team.”

All-Star Ian Happ homered for Chicago, which dropped its fifth in a row. Adrian Sampson (0-1) allowed three runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings.

Baltimore trailed 2-1 in the fourth before Urias almost cleared the left-field bleachers with a two-run drive for his seventh homer.

The Cubs trailed 3-2 in the sixth and had Seiya Suzuki at third with one out. But Urias gloved Nico Hoerner‘s liner inches off the ground and trotted to third to complete the double play.

Mateo went deep in the seventh against Brandon Hughes. It was his seventh homer of the season.

“They’re probably the most aggressive team in baseball,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “They’re going to come out swinging and they did. A couple of early-count fastball homers was the difference in the game.”

WORTH NOTING

The Orioles went 52-110 last season. According to STATS, they are the second big league team in history to lose 110-plus games one season and then have at least a nine-game win streak the following year. The Louisville Colonels went 27-111 in 1889 before posting win streaks of 12, 11 and 10 games in 1890.

MAKING MOVES

Baltimore claimed right-hander Louis Head off waivers from Miami earlier in the day and optioned him to Triple-A Norfolk. Left-hander Kirk McCarty was designated for assignment.

OH BABY

Cubs left-hander Justin Steele came off the paternity list a day after he and his wife welcomed a son. He is scheduled to start on Wednesday. Right-hander Anderson Espinoza was optioned to Triple-A Iowa.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Orioles: Austin Hays was back in right field after missing Sunday’s 9-5 win against the Angels with a sore right wrist. Manager Brandon Hyde said the injury hasn’t fully resolved itself but Hays will play through it.

UP NEXT

RHP Spenser Watkins (2-1, 4.15 ERA) faces Steele (3-5, 4.13 ERA) in Wednesday’s finale of the two-game series.

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.