Pablo López fans 11 in 7 dominant innings, Marlins edge Reds 2-1

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CINCINNATI — Pablo Lopez allowed two hits and tied his career high with 11 strikeouts over seven dominant innings and the Miami Marlins edged the Cincinnati Reds 2-1.

Joey Wendle hit a two-run single off Hunter Greene as Miami for the third time in nine games.

A day after Cincinnati piled up 11 runs in a romp, Lopez turned in a stopper-like performance for the Marlins. He overcame Mike Moustakas‘s solo homer to finish with a flourish, retiring his final nine batters and striking out the side in the sixth. He didn’t walk anybody while retiring 21 of his last 22 Cincinnati batters.

“That was really fun,” Lopez said. “It has been a while since I felt that good. That’s one of those starts I really needed. It’s a good start to build on.”

The Reds had won nine of their previous 13 games.

“Lopez had as good a stuff as we’ve seen all year,” Reds manager David Bell said. “He had a good fastball. You didn’t know which way he was going to cut it. He had a good sinker and great changeup.”

Lopez (7-5), the National League April Pitcher of the Month after going 3-0, allowed a single to the first batter he faced, Jonathan India, before retiring the next 12. Moustakas snapped that run, leading off the fifth with his sixth homer of the season.

Lopez was happy to be able to shake off the homer.

“Giving up a homer is not ideal, but solo shots aren’t going to hurt you that much,” he said. “I was able to turn the page.”

He was even prouder about issuing no walks.

“I wasn’t shying away from the strike zone,” he pointed out.

Lopez admitted to a bit of lobbying one more inning.

“You never want the ball taken out of your hand,” he said. “Those are decisions that are out of my hands. I’ll just be proud of the start.”

“He did a good job,” Miami manager Don Mattingly said. “We’re going to need him in the second half. We’re going to take care of him. We want him to stay on a good track.”

Anthony Bass kept the streak alive with a perfect eighth. Tanner Scott closed it out with a 1-2-3 ninth for his 13th save.

Greene almost matched Lopez out-for-out, allowing three hits through the first four scoreless innings before the Marlins broke through in the fifth when Jesus Sanchez singled with one out and went to third on Luke Williams‘ single. Williams stole second while Jacob Stallings was striking out, but Wendle drove in both runners with a single to right – the first of his three straight hits.

The Marlins collected nine hits and two runs in 6 1/3 innings against Greene (3-12), who struck out six and walked one. The rookie right-hander is 0-5 over his last eight starts since his last win on June 6 against Arizona.

“I just simply challenged them and kept going after them,” Greene said. “If they got a little hit here or hit there, I kept going after them. I kept competing. That’s my biggest takeaway.”

HOT CORNERS

Marlins third baseman Luke Williams lunged to snare Brandon Drury‘s sharp one-hopper and made a leaping throw that first baseman Lewin Diaz stretched to haul in on one hop for the first out of the first inning.

TOO GREEDY

Reds LF Tommy Pham hustled over to the line to scoop up Stallings’ leadoff single and threw the Marlins catcher out trying to stretch the hit into a double in the third.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Marlins: INF Garrett Cooper (right wrist contusion) was placed on the 10-day on Tuesday, retroactive to Sunday. Cooper was hit by a pitch on Saturday in Pittsburgh.

Reds: CF Nick Senzel seemed to jar his right shoulder making a diving catch of Bryan De La Cruz‘s sinking liner leading off the fifth. After a visit from a trainer, Senzel stayed in the game.

UP NEXT

RHP Luis Castillo (3-4, 2.77), the focus of trade rumors, may be making his last start for the Reds on Wednesday. He is due to be opposed by LHP Braxton Garrett (2-3, 3.42).

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.