After McClanahan leaves, Orioles rally to beat Rays 5-3

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BALTIMORE — Ramon Urias hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning off reliever Colin Poche to undo a marvelous start by Tampa Bay All-Star Shane McClanahan and carry the Baltimore Orioles to a 5-3 victory over the Rays.

McClanahan pitched seven innings of two-hit ball and was lifted with a 3-2 lead after throwing 81 pitches on a humid night. Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said the move was made because McClanahan had started only once (except for the All-Star Game last week) since July 13.

“The biggest factor was the break. Four or five days (off), then four more days,” Cash said, adding that he probably would have pulled McClanahan after six innings if his pitch count wasn’t so low.

After McClanahan left, Poche (2-1) promptly gave up a leadoff single to Adley Rutschman and Urias followed by driving an 0-2 pitch over the left-field wall.

Trey Mancini capped the rally with a sacrifice fly for the surprising Orioles, who moved one game over .500 (49-48) after finishing 52-110 last year.

After struggling against McClanahan, the Orioles were delighted to see someone else on the mound – even Poche, who came in with a 2.27 ERA.

“He started an All-Star Game for a reason,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said of McClanahan. “He’s one of the best pitchers in the American League. We had a tough time with him.”

Keegan Akin (2-1) got the last out in the eighth and All-Star reliever Jorge Lopez worked the ninth for his 19th save.

Isaac Paredes homered for the Rays, who have lost four straight. Tampa Bay got 12 hits but fell to 10-34 when scoring three runs or less.

Pitching for the first time since throwing an inning for the AL All-Stars on July 19, McClanahan struck out seven and walked one. His first pitch of the game was hit for a home run by Cedric Mullins and Anthony Santander went deep in the fourth, but that was the extent of Baltimore’s offense against the 25-year-old lefty.

“He was really good. I was encouraged that he had that layoff and gave us seven strong innings,” Cash said. “We know how good he is. But we also have a lot of confidence in the guys that were, in theory, coming in to get the last six outs.”

McClanahan has allowed two earned runs or fewer in a franchise-record 13 straight starts. In addition, he’s given up four hits or less in eight consecutive starts.

SLUMP EXTENDED

Although he drove in a run with a flyball, Mancini went 0 for 3 and is hitless in his last 25 at-bats. His name has been mentioned in trade rumors over the past several weeks.

ORIOLES YES, RAVENS NO

Orioles second-round draft pick Max Wagner signed his first professional baseball contract before taking a seat in the Baltimore dugout for a pregame session with the media.

Wagner was primarily a defensive replacement at Clemson last season before blossoming into the ACC player of the year as a sophomore in 2022. The 20-year-old was drafted 42nd overall.

“These last five months have definitely been crazy for me,” said Wagner, who didn’t start the Tigers’ opener but ended up batting .370 with 27 homers.

Wagner hopes to make Baltimore his home in the future, but he probably won’t adopt the Ravens as his favorite NFL team. “The whole Ravens thing? That’s going to be tough,” he said. “Being from Green Bay, it’s kind of hard to get away from the Packers.”

Baltimore will introduce shortstop Jackson Holliday, the top pick in the entire 2022 draft, on Wednesday.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rays: The Rays have placed C Francisco Mejia (right shoulder impingement) on the 10-day IL and recalled C Rene Pinto from Triple-A Durham.

Orioles: Rookie INF Jonathan Arauz was placed on the 10-day IL with a fractured finger, an injury that occurred while he dived into second base Monday night. Baltimore recalled INF Terrin Vavra from Triple-A Norfolk.

UP NEXT

Rays: Drew Rasmussen (6-3, 3.13 ERA) starts Wednesday night in the third game of the four-game series. Baltimore will call upon Tyler Wells (7-6, 3.69), who went 17 straight starts allowing three runs or less before yielding five runs in five innings against the Yankees on Friday night.

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.