Alonso’s 3-run HR, 4 RBIs leads Mets over Padres 8-5

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK — Pete Alonso lifted the ball into the left-field seats and sent the New York Mets soaring into their high-profile Subway Series matchup against the Yankees and Aaron Judge.

Alonso hit a go-ahead, three-run homer off Joe Musgrove and had four RBIs to retake the major league lead, leading the Mets over the San Diego Padres 8-5 on Sunday night and avoiding a three-game sweep.

Next up: a two-game series against the Yankees at Citi Field starting Tuesday night. Both teams lead their divisions, and Alonso’s 82 RBIs are one more than Judge’s total.

“I wouldn’t really call it toe to toe, me versus him,” Alonso said. “This is a moment where the city can come together over the game of baseball.”

San Diego had won the first two games of the weekend series behind Yu Darvish and Blake Snell. The Padres took a 1-0 lead in the sixth behind Joe Musgrove and had not trailed in 25 innings.

New York’s NL East lead was down to a half-game over defending World Series champion Atlanta.

“We just ran into two buzz saws,” Alonso said. “We needed this one. This one was huge for us today.”

Eric Hosmer provided Musgrove (8-3) a 1-0 lead with a run-scoring double in the sixth off Drew Smith (2-3), but the Mets rallied in the bottom half on the sweltering night and reopened a 1 1/2-game lead over the second-place Braves. New York avoided a three-game sweep and what would have been its first four-game losing streak this year.

Alonso hit his 25th home run in a five-run sixth and added an RBI double high off the center-field wall in a three-run seventh that built an 8-1 lead.

After wasting a second-and-third, no-outs threat in the fifth, the Mets pressured again when Starling Marte singled leading off the sixth and Francisco Lindor doubled.

Pitching coach Ruben Niebla went to the mound, and Musgrove hung a 2-1 slider that Alonso hit into the left-field seats.

“You can’t hit a five-run homer and you can’t hit a four-run single,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “Sometimes you want something too much, and something like that might let you kind of get back into the flow of who you are.”

Daniel Vogelbach, making his Mets debut, got New York’s first hit in the fifth, then walked and scored in the sixth when Luis Guillorme hit a perfectly placed two-out RBI single on a jam shot off Nick Martinez that dropped into shallow left as shortstop Ha-Seong Kim pulled up. Tomas Nido followed with an opposite-field RBI double that hopped off the right-center fence.

Rookie center fielder Esteury Ruiz allowed Alonso’s double against Steven Wilson to go over his glove and high off the wall, Mark Canha followed with an RBI infield hit on a slow roller and third baseman Manny Machado threw past first for a run-scoring error.

Vogelbach, acquired Friday from Pittsburgh, went 1 for 3 and received a warm ovation. He had been 0 for 8 against Musgrove.

“I don’t know that I’ve played in an environment like that – at least being the home team.” Vogelbach said. “Pretty cool to call it my home field now.”

STARTERS

Mets starter Carlos Carrasco allowed six hits over five scoreless innings on the 90-degree night. Musgrove, 0-3 in his last five starts, gave up four runs and five hits in 5 1/3 innings.

CLOSER

Machado had three hits, included an RBI double in a three-run ninth off Joely Rodriguez. Edwin Diaz, energizing the crowd when he entered to Blasterjaxx & Timmy Trumpet’s “Narco,” relieved with two on and got three outs for his 21st save in 24 chances.

WEB GEM

New York’s Brandon Nimmo made a leaping catch against the center-field wall in the sixth to rob Austin Nola of a run-scoring extra-base hit.

PLUNKED BUT NO BASE

Machado struck out leading off the sixth when he was hit on a hand by a Smith changeup, but first base umpire Angel Hernandez ruled Machado swung at the 0-2 pitch.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Padres: CF Trent Grisham didn’t play, a day after leaving in the eighth following a collision with pitcher Chris Bassitt. … INF C.J. Abrams (sore biceps) was out of the lineup for the second straight day. … OF Wil Myers (right knee inflammation) will need additional minor league rehab games in the coming week. … LHP Drew Pomeranz threw about 20 pitches Saturday in his first simulated game following flexor tendon surgery last August.

Mets: RHP Jacob deGrom (stress reaction in his right scapula) threw a side session at Citi Field and will make at least a fourth minor league rehab start. The 34-year-old right-hander, a two-time NL Cy Young Award winner, has not pitched in the major leagues since July 7 last year. … RHP Trevor May (right triceps inflammation) threw 14 pitches during a one-inning appearance for Double-A Binghamton.

Booth: ESPN and YES broadcaster David Cone worked his first game since the former big league pitcher had hip replacement surgery on July 11.

UP NEXT

Padres: LHP Sean Manaea (5-4, 4.11) is to start Monday night at Detroit against RHP Drew Hutchison (1-4, 4.46).

Mets: RHP Taijuan Walker (7-2, 2.55) is 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA in his last seven starts going into his Tuesday outing against LHP Jordan Montgomery (3-2, 3.24).

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.