Rowdy Tellez hits pair of 3 HRs, Brewers top Twins 10-4 for sweep

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MILWAUKEE — Rowdy Tellez hit a pair of three-run homers, Corbin Burnes won his fifth straight decision and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Minnesota Twins 10-4 to sweep a two-game series between Central Division leaders.

Tellez homered off a wild Chris Archer (2-5) for a 3-0 lead in the first and against Jharel Cotton for an 8-3 advantage in a five-run fourth. Tellez has 20 homers, one shy of his career high in 2019 with Toronto, and nine multihomer games, including four this season. His only game with more RBIs was on May 4, when he had eight against Cincinnati.

“Our pitching is obviously our strong suit, but we’ve made some strides,” Tellez said of the team’s recent success at the plate. “The break helped us out and I think we are in a good spot.”

Tellez’s ability to go deep changed the course of the game, Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said.

“He’s a strong human being,” Counsell said. “Most of the time, all he’s got to do is put a barrel on it and it’s going to go. It was good to see him really take over the game today and probably win that one for us.”

Burnes (8-4) struck out 11 in six innings, reaching double digits for the eighth time this year and 20th in his big league career. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner gave up three runs and five hits while walking none and retiring 14 of his last 15 batters.

“Those last four innings, finally got some things that clicked. So, it was good,” Burnes said. “But as far as the second inning goes, got to do a better job of throwing up a zero there especially after the offense scores three.”

Milwaukee opened a 3 1/2-game NL Central lead over second-place St. Louis, which played later Wednesday. Minnesota’s AL Central lead was trimmed to two games over second-place Cleveland, which also played later.

Archer tied his career high with six walks. He allowed six runs and three hits in three innings.

“It’s unacceptable and I have to be better,” Archer said. “I didn’t have anything today. I’ve made 17 starts and I’ve had two outings where I didn’t really have it. Today was exploited to the max. I’m going to have another start soon. I can’t wait to get back out there.”

Archer was critical of himself for the pitch that Tellez hit for a towering home run in the first.

“I didn’t see how high it was hit,” he said. “But it was a terrible pitch. He did what he was supposed to do.”

Burnes gave up the early lead in a three-run second that included Jose Miranda‘s ninth homer, back-to-back doubles by Kyle Garlick and Nick Gordon, and Gary Sanchez‘s run-scoring single. The Twins have homered in 11 consecutive games at American Family Field, hitting a total of 21 home runs during the streak.

“There was a point early in the game where we really liked what we were doing against (Burnes),” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “He made a few adjustments. He still threw a bunch of cutters but made some good pitches with his curveball and two-seamer as well. He’s tough.”

Archer walked Milwaukee’s first three batters in the fourth, and Cotton walked Christian Yelich with one out, forcing in the go-ahead run. Willy Adames added a sacrifice fly, and Tellez homered for the lone hit in the inning.

Luis Urias added a two-run homer in the fifth off Yennier Cano.

Garlick homered leading off the seventh against Jake McGee.

ROSTER MOVE

Right-hander Peter Strzelecki was recalled from Triple-A Nashville by the Brewers, who optioned left-hander Ethan Small to make room on the roster.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Twins: LHP Danny Coulombe had season-ending surgery to repair the labrum in his left hip, Baldelli said. Coulombe has been on the injured list since May 28. … OF Max Kepler missed a second consecutive game with a mildly displaced right pinkie toe fracture. A stint on the injured list is possible for Kepler if he doesn’t show signs of improvement by the weekend, Baldelli said. … 1B Miguel Sano, who returned to action Tuesday after missing nearly three months with a torn meniscus in his left knee, wasn’t in the starting lineup but entered as a defensive replacement in the seventh. … RHP Bailey Ober, on the injured list since June 2 with a right groin strain, has begun playing catch. Ober missed 20 games earlier this season with a similar injury.

DEADLINE DISTRACTION

The Twins expect to make a playoff run but are working to avoid any distractions pertaining to the looming trade deadline, Baldelli said.

“You can’t focus on the trade deadline. I understand why it’s a discussion. It’s a big deal,” he said. “You have an opportunity to improve your team. But when we walk in this door, if we are worried about things like the trade deadline then you’re not focusing on what you need to do that day to win the game.”

Archer said he understands the team could make some moves, but is confident in the current roster.

“I like the team we have. We’ve been really successful so far,” he said.

UP NEXT

Twins: RHP Joe Ryan (7-3, 2.89 ERA) starts Friday’s series opener at San Diego in his first career appearance against the Padres.

Brewers: RHP Brandon Woodruff (8-3, 3.73 ERA) starts Friday at Boston, Milwaukee’s first visit to Fenway Park since 2014.

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.