Rays score five in 7th, beat Boston 5-4 for four-game sweep

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Taylor Walls and Yandy Diaz had two-run singles during a five-run outburst in the seventh inning, helping the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Boston Red Sox 5-4 Thursday night and completing a four-game sweep.

The Red Sox appeared to be in control with rookie Kutter Crawford taking a three hitter into the seventh and Boston leading 3-0.

The right-hander, whose longest big league outing had been 5 1/3 innings, quickly allowed three consecutive hits in the seventh that included Josh Lowe‘s RBI double, ending his night.

“Bullpen-wise we were limited,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “He was throwing the ball well so we rolled the dice with him. It was kind of like Kutter, Schreiber, (closer) Tanner (Houck), but is just didn’t happen.”

Cora went to normally reliable reliever John Schreiber, who entered with an 0.60 ERA and had stranded all 14 inherited runners this season.

Schreiber (2-1) gave up Walls’ game-tying hit and Diaz’s go-ahead single. His ERA climbed to 1.16 after giving up two runs and three hits in one inning. It was just the second time in 32 appearances this season that he allowed an earned run.

Diaz is hitting .440 (22 for 50) with 11 RBIs since July 1.

Tampa Bay was coming off a weekend series at Cincinnati in which the NL Central last-place Reds swept a three-game set.

“I think we’ve had the tendency this year to play down to competition, and I guess you could say up to competition as well,” Walls said.

Crawford ended up allowing three runs and six hits along with six strikeouts. He had held the Rays in two previous relief outings this year to three hits over 8 1/3 scoreless innings.

“From the side you can tell why Kutter Crawford has pitched well against us,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “The cutter and fastball, our guys are not picking it up, but liked that we put enough pressure to get him out of the game.”

Tommy Romero (1-0) worked a scoreless seventh to get his first major league win. He is the 20th Tampa Bay pitcher to win a game this season.

Jalen Beeks got his first save since Aug, 19, 2020, and third overall, despite allowing Alex Verdugo‘s RBI double with no outs. The lefty struck out pinch-hitter Bobby Dalec and coaxed a grounder from Jeter Downs with two runners on to end it.

Boston All-Star Rafael Devers opened the scoring with a solo homer in the fourth off Drew Rasmussen.

Xander Bogaerts had a two-out double that drove in J.D. Martinez, who had walked, during a two-run fifth inning that put the Red Sox up 3-0. Jarren Duran had a leadoff single and scored on a wild pitch earlier in Bogaerts’ at-bat.

Rasmussen gave up three runs and four hits in six innings.

LOW TURNOUT

The four-game series at Tropicana Field drew a total of 43,728 fans. In comparison, the average attendance during a three-game series between the teams at Fenway Park July 4-6 averaged 33,774.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Red Sox: RHP Josh Winckowski tested positive after allowing three runs over six innings in Wednesday night’s 4-1 loss to the Rays. Winckowski, who is vaccinated, was placed on the COVID-19 related IL.

Rays: RHP Shane Baz (right elbow sprain) went on the 15-day injured list. The Rays are tied with Cincinnati for the most players on the IL with 17.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: RHP Nathan Eovaldi (4-2), out since June 9 with lower back inflammation, is expected to start Friday night against New York Yankees’ LHP Jordan Montgomery (3-2). Reliever Garrett Whitlock (right hip inflammation) is also expected to rejoin the Red Sox.

Rays: RHP Luis Patino, sidelined since April 12 with a left oblique strain and blister issues, is expected to start Friday night’s game against Baltimore RHP Tyler Wells (7-4). The Orioles are on a 10-game winning streak and are 45-44 overall. They didn’t get their 45th win last year until Sept. 8, the 138th game of the season.

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.