Mariners keep rolling, score 2 in ninth to beat Rangers 5-4

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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SEATTLE – Cal Raleigh homered in the seventh inning, lined an RBI double in the ninth and scored the winning run on Carlos Santana‘s sacrifice fly, and the Seattle Mariners rallied for a 5-4 win over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night.

J.P. Crawford led off the ninth with a single off Texas reliever Brett Martin and scored from first when Raleigh lined a shot to the wall in right-center field. Raleigh was sacrificed to third base and after Martin (0-6) issued intentional walks to Julio Rodriguez and Ty France to load the bases, Santana hit a fly ball to center field that was deep enough for Raleigh to score the winning run.

“(Raleigh’s) having a lot of fun. And you see show up every day, in the clubhouse, on the field. He’s helping us win games in different ways every night,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “Some nights it’s with the bat. Some nights it’s calling the right pitches. Some nights it’s because he throws a runner out. Some nights it’s because his base running is pretty good.”

Seattle won its seventh straight over the Rangers and its ninth consecutive game decided by one run. Since losing to Oakland on July 1, the Mariners are 16-3 with the only three losses coming last weekend to Houston.

Rodriguez led off the game with his 17th home run of the season in his first action since the All-Star Game last week. Rodriguez returned from Los Angeles complaining of a sore left wrist that was initially injured in the final game before the break in Texas.

Seattle was cautious but Rodriguez was clearly ready to return hitting the sixth pitch of the game out to left field.

“I’m not surprised at this point. It’s amazing what that guy is doing. I just shake my head in amazement,” Raleigh said.

Kyle Lewis added an RBI single in the first inning, and Raleigh’s 14th homer in the seventh gave Seattle a 3-1 lead.

But Seattle’s bullpen sputtered late and the Rangers pulled ahead. Adolis Garcia’s two-run double in the eighth inning took an awkward bounce inside first base and pulled the Rangers even at 3-3 after Paul Sewald had walked Corey Seager and Jonah Heim with two outs.

Leody Taveras led off the ninth inning with an opposite-field single off Erik Swanson (1-0) on a pitch well out of the strike zone, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored when Ezequiel Duran’s sinking line drive couldn’t be caught on a diving attempt by right fielder Sam Haggerty.

But the Mariners put together a final rally and improved to 23-12 in one-run games, while Texas fell to 5-23.

“We had a tough one last night, even tougher one tonight,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “We’re going to bounce back. We’re going to learn, we’re going to continue to grow from these things.”

STARTING OFF

Seattle rookie George Kirby threw five shutout innings on just 51 pitches before being lifted. Kirby was on a limited pitch count after not throwing in the majors since July 8.

Texas starter Dane Dunning threw five innings and allowed four hits in his first start following a stint on the injured list due to an ankle issue. Dunning is now winless in his past 14 starts dating to early May.

ROSTER SHUFFLE

With Dunning coming off the injured list, the Rangers optioned LHP Taylor Hearn to Triple-A Round Rock. Hearn has started a career-high 13 games this season and made 16 total appearances. Manager Chris Woodward said the Rangers will go with a five-man rotation and he sees Hearn’s best role as a length reliever out of the bullpen.

Seattle also made a roster move to bring back Kirby and optioned RHP Matt Brash to Triple-A Tacoma. But manager Scott Servais made it sound as if Brash will be back with the big league club sooner than later. Brash started the season in the rotation before being sent to the minors and working as a reliever. Brash has appeared in five games as a reliever after making five starts to begin the season.

PICK SIGNED

The Mariners signed first-round draft pick Cole Young on Tuesday. The high school infielder took part in batting practice with the team and met with manager Scott Servais. Young was selected with the No. 21 overall pick out of North Allegheny High School in Wexford, Pennsylvania.

UP NEXT

Rangers: RHP Jon Gray (7-4, 3.48) goes for his fourth straight win. Gray has been dominant of late, bringing a 13-inning scoreless streak into his 18th start of the season. Gray has struck out 14 and allowed five total hits over his past two outings.

Mariners: LHP Marco Gonzales (5-10, 3.74) has allowed five earned runs in each of his past two starts, including last Friday against Houston where he gave up three home runs to the Astros.

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.