Fresh off record game, Jays hope offense still has punch vs. Red Sox

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After a record-setting win in the opener, the visiting Toronto Blue Jays hope they saved something for the second game of their three-game series against the Boston Red Sox.

The Blue Jays had 28 runs and 29 hits, both club records, in defeating the Red Sox 28-5 on Friday night. The runs were also the most allowed by the Red Sox in club history.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. had six hits to match the club record for a game set by Frank Catalanotto in 2004. Gurriel also had five RBIs. Gurriel’s sixth hit came against Red Sox infielder Yolmer Sanchez, who pitched in the ninth and allowed a run.

Raimel Tapia had six RBIs, including an inside-the-park grand slam in the third inning that came about when center fielder Jarren Duran lost sight of the fly ball.

“He couldn’t see the ball; there’s nothing you can do,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said.

“It’s the most helpless feeling you could feel,” Duran said. “Until you guys catch a ball in the twilight, let me know.”

Duran did not pursue the ball after it dropped behind him because left fielder Alex Verdugo already was there. “I just didn’t want to get in his way,” he said.

Danny Jansen also had six RBIs with two homers and a single for Toronto.

The Blue Jays scored 11 runs in the fifth inning, all after two were out. The inning was extended when Matt Chapman‘s popup dropped among a cluster of Red Sox players in front of home plate. It went for an RBI hit.

“Very tough,” Cora said. “We didn’t pitch good; we didn’t play good defense. We’ve got to make adjustments.”

The Blue Jays will start right-hander Alek Manoah (10-4, 2.28 ERA) on Saturday. In two starts against Boston this season, he is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA. Over four career starts against the Red Sox, he is 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA.

Boston will start right-hander Kutter Crawford (2-2, 4.50 ERA), who has never faced the Blue Jays.

The Blue Jays are 5-1 under interim manager John Schneider, who replaced Charlie Montoyo. Boston has lost seven of its past eight.

The series marks the resumption of play after the All-Star break.

“That was awesome,” Schneider said of the big victory. “Before the game, we talked about how you can come out a little bit sleepy or we can come out hot. We came out hot.”

The Blue Jays feel that they can play better than they have this season.

“I think we’ve only seen flashes of how good we can be, and I’m sure that’s disappointing for a lot of people,” Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano said.

“The ups and downs of it, the inconsistencies, myself included. We know we can be better. I think just coming out in the second half, we know where we are and what we kind of need to do, and everyone feels that,” Romano said.

Blue Jays first base coach Mark Budzinski returned to the team Friday after the death of his daughter, Julia, early this month.

Toronto center fielder George Springer (elbow) did not start Friday.

Boston designated hitter J.D. Martinez (back) was a late scratch on Friday

Boston put left-hander Chris Sale on the injured list with a left fifth finger fracture, recalled right-hander Brayan Bello from Triple-A Worcester, optioned catcher Connor Wong to Worcester and selected Sanchez from Worcester.

Texas Rangers ink free-agent ace Jacob deGrom to 5-year deal

Jacob deGrom
USA Today

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.