Gray pitches 6 innings as Rangers beat reeling Marlins 8-0

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
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MIAMI – Jon Gray pitched six innings of four-hit ball, Adolis Garcia homered and the Texas Rangers beat the reeling Miami Marlins 8-0 on Thursday.

Garcia drove in three runs, helping Texas stop a four-game slide in the opener of an 11-game trip. Marcus Semien had two hits and reached base four times.

“Our players were excited to get back off the break and ready to play ball,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “We’re going to be challenged, obviously, on this road trip travel-wise.”

The Marlins lost their fourth straight, and their scoreless streak reached 34 innings. They last scored in the second inning of their 2-1 loss against Philadelphia on July 15.

Miami also tied a club record with its ninth consecutive game without a home run. Marlins teams in 1993 and 2019 had similar droughts.

“We’re in a stretch where you’re hoping the three-day break was going to be something that we’d bounce back and come out of this with some energy and it would look a little different, ” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “But it hasn’t so we’ve got to keep going and keep fighting.”

Gray (7-4) struck out five and walked two. Matt Moore, Matt Bush and Dennis Santana each got three outs, finishing the Rangers’ seven-hitter.

“We had a great mix working, I don’t think we relied too much on one thing,” Gray said. “We’ve been on attack mode, not walking as many people.”

Rangers shortstop Corey Seager rejoined the team in Miami after appearing in the All-Star Game. But he got the day off.

Texas jumped in front on consecutive RBI singles by Nathaniel Lowe, Jonah Helm and Garcia in the third. Garcia added a two-run shot in the fifth, driving the first pitch from Miami starter Pablo Lopez over the wall in right for his 16th homer.

“I was looking to make good contact, put the ball in play,” Garcia said in Spanish. “Thankfully, I made a good swing and the ball took off.”

The Rangers’ lead changed Gray’s approach for the rest of his outing.

“It takes a little stress off of me,” Gray said. “If we’re able to plate two or three runs early, that kind of put me in another mode. It didn’t feel like I was on my heels.”

Lopez (6-5) was lifted after five innings. The right-hander was charged with five runs and five hits.

ROSTER MOVES

The Rangers recalled infielder Ezequiel Duran from Triple-A Round Rock and sold the contract of outfielder Zach Reks to the Lotte Giants of the Korea Baseball Organization. Reks was designated for assignment Saturday.

The Marlins placed right-hander Elieser Hernandez (undisclosed) on the injured list and recalled right-hander Tommy Nance from Triple-A Jacksonville.

ANOTHER MIAMI VISIT

The clubs originally were scheduled to meet in a three-game series. But the schedules were altered after the lockout ended in March, and the Rangers will make a separate trip to Miami. The additional two games will be a day-night doubleheader Sept. 12.

BERRY GOOD

Jacob Berry, Miami’s top pick and the sixth-overall selection in the 2022 draft Sunday, took batting practice and fielded grounders prior to the game. The Marlins already signed the infielder to a contract and will assign him to a minor league club soon.

“I’m thankful to get this opportunity to meet everybody in the Marlins organization,” Berry said. “It’s been unbelievable. There’s not even one word I could use to describe this moment.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rangers: INF-OF Brad Miller (neck strain) was placed on the 10-day injured list retroactive to Monday. … RHP Dane Dunning (right ankle impingement) will make a rehab start Thursday in Arizona.

Marlins: LHP Jesus Luzardo (left forearm strain) is scheduled to throw four innings Friday at Jacksonville. … RHP Edward Cabrera (right elbow tendinitis) is scheduled for a rehab outing on Friday at Double-A Pensacola.

UP NEXT

Rangers: RHP Spencer Howard (1-1, 6.97 ERA) will start the opener of a three-game series Friday at Oakland.

Marlins: LHP Braxton Garrett (1-3, 3.70 ERA) will start the opener of a three-game series Friday at Pittsburgh.

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.