Birthday boy LeMahieu scores in 10th, Yanks beat Reds 7-6

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK – DJ LeMahieu capped his 34th birthday by sliding across the plate on Alexis Diaz‘s second straight wild pitch in the 10th inning, and the New York Yankees rallied from a four-run deficit to beat the Cincinnati Reds 7-6 Wednesday night and stop a three-game losing streak.

Luis Severino allowed three consecutive homers in a span of five pitches in the second inning as Cincinnati built a 4-0 lead, then left with right shoulder tightness.

“Today I woke up feeling not that great,” Severino said. “I felt a little tight shoulder going to warm up and do all my stuff in the bullpen. It stayed the same in the game.”

Cincinnati allowed five unearned runs, four after second baseman Jonathan India‘s error on Anthony Rizzo‘s potential inning-ending double-play grounder in the third. The Reds fell behind 5-4 and went ahead 6-5 before Giancarlo Stanton homered to the short porch in right field off Ian Gibaut in the eighth.

LeMahieu started the 10th inning on second base. Aaron Judge struck out against Diaz (2-1), Anthony Rizzo was intentionally walked and Stanton fell behind 0-2 in the count.

Diaz threw a slider that went off the mitt of catcher Tyler Stephenson. Diaz paused to grab the rosin bag, then threw a slider that bounced off Stephenson toward the first base dugout as LeMahieu scampered home ahead of the catcher’s throw to Diaz covering the plate.

“It’s a good birthday, but to play in the big leagues on my birthday, that’s good enough,” LeMahieu said. “But a walk-off like this is pretty fun.”

New York got its big league-high 11th walk-off win and 27th come-from-behind victory, avoiding what would have been its first four-game losing streak this year.

Michael King (6-1), the seventh Yankees pitcher, escaped first-and-third, no-outs trouble in the 10th when Matt Reynolds struck out and Kyle Farmer grounded into a 5-4-3 double play.

“Not perfect,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “This season’s not going to be that way. So, just glad we were able to kind of continue to grind and grind.”

Farmer hit a 431-foot drive to left on Severino’s slider, Mike Moustakas connected on a changeup and Stuart Fairchild on a 92 mph fastball.

After Boone and an athletic trainer came to the mound, Severino finished the inning. He went to the mound to start the third and threw a warmup pitch, then walked off and was replaced by rookie JP Sears.

Severino averaged 94.1 mph with 18 fastballs, down from his season average of 96.1 mph.

“I talked to him after the first inning, he was just a little leery of letting it go, but he kept saying, `I feel really good,”‘ Boone said. “Something was telling him to hold back a little bit. That was the biggest thing.”

This was the third time Severino allowed three homers in a game, the first since Aug. 28, 2017, against Cleveland.

Cincinnati hit three straight homers for the first time since May 5, 2019, against San Francisco’s Jeff Samardzija when Eugenio Suarez, Jesse Winker and Derek Dietrich went deep.

“That was a great way to get off to a good start,” Reds manager David Bell said.

New York allowed three straight homers for the second time this year. Gerrit Cole did it June 9 in Minnesota when Luis Arraez, Byron Buxton and Carlos Correa took him deep.

Joey Votto drove in two runs and Stephenson hit a sacrifice fly in the fifth off Sears as the Reds saw their season-high five-game winning streak snapped.

Gleyber Torres hit an RBI single after India’s error, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa capped a five-run third with a three-run double.

Cincinnati starter Mike Minor allowed five runs – one earned – in four innings.

BIRD RELEASED

The Yankees released 1B Greg Bird from his minor league contract after he hit .218 with six homers and 22 RBIs in 59 games at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Reds: CF Nick Senzel was a late scratch with back tightness and was caught stealing as a pinch runner in the eighth.

Yankees: OF Aaron Hicks said he was feeling better after bruising his right shin when he fouled a pitch off his leg in the third inning Tuesday. Hicks underwent an MRI and CT scan that were both negative and hopes to return by this weekend’s series with Boston. . RHP Domingo German (right shoulder impingement, injured list since spring training) threw a bullpen and is tentatively scheduled to make another rehab start for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, though that could change depending on New York’s pitching needs by Friday. . Sears was optioned to Triple-A after the game.

UP NEXT

All-Star RHP Luis Castillo (3-4, 2.92 ERA) makes his second career start at Yankee Stadium for Cincinnati. In the second inning of his previous one, Castillo got Todd Frazier to hit into a triple play on July 25, 2017. All-Star LHP Nestor Cortes (7-3, 2.74) starts for the Yankees.

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.