Yordan Alvarez hits RBI single in 10th to lift Astros over M’s 3-2

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HOUSTON — Yordan Alvarez hit an RBI single with one out in the 10th inning to lift the Houston Astros to a 3-2 win over the Seattle Mariners.

Mauricio Dubon started the 10th as the automatic runner on second and the Mariners intentionally walked Jose Altuve. Dubon advanced to third on a sacrifice fly by Yuli Gurriel.

Alvarez then laced a grounder off Brennan Bernardino (0-1), who was making his MLB debut, to left field to send Dubon home and start the celebration.

Hector Neris (4-3) pitched a scoreless 10th for the win.

The Mariners were playing without star rookie Julio Rodriguez, who was placed on the injured list with a bruised right wrist Sunday after being hit by a pitch a night earlier.

The AL-West leading Astros scored two runs in the first inning to take the lead. The Mariners used a two-run homer by Jesse Winker in the eight inning to tie it.

Houston’s win comes a night after Seattle scored two runs in the ninth to rally for a 5-4 victory. The victory gives the Astros a 3-1 advantage in the series.

Houston led 2-0 and the Mariners had managed just two singles when Ryne Stanek walked Adam Frazier with two outs in the eighth inning. Winker sent his next pitch into the seats in right field for his ninth homer of the season, tying it a 2.

The Mariners couldn’t get anything going against Jake Odorizzi, who allowed two hits and struck out a season-high eight in seven scoreless innings. He didn’t allow a hit until Frazier singled to start the fourth, and he walked Carlos Santana with two outs in the inning. But Odorizzi retired Eugenio Suarez to end the inning and the Mariners didn’t have another baserunner until another single by Frazier with one out in the sixth.

This time Odorizzi retired the next two batters before walking one in a scoreless seventh to end his day.

Seattle rookie George Kirby yielded three hits and two runs while striking out seven in four innings.

Kirby plunked Altuve to start Houston’s first and he advanced to third on a single by Gurriel. Alvarez struck out for the first out of the inning, but Gurriel stole second and Altuve stole home on the play to make it 1-0.

Altuve slid in and tapped the base with his left hand just before catcher Cal Raleigh got the tag down to put the Astros on top.

There were two outs in the inning when Kyle Tucker singled on a grounder to right field to score Gurriel and extend the lead to 2-0.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mariners: The Mariners also placed Dylan Moore on the injured list Sunday after the outfielder started having back spasms Saturday night. … Seattle recalled outfielder Jarred Kelenic from Triple-A Tacoma and purchased the contract of outfielder Jack Larsen from Double-A Arkansas to take the spots of Rodriguez and Moore on the roster. … 1B Ty France Sunday didn’t play Sunday after having an MRI on his sore left wrist. Manager Scott Servais said they hadn’t yet received the results before the game, and he hoped he would be ready to return after a day or two of rest. … Utilityman Sam Haggerty was not in the lineup Sunday, but pinch-ran in the 10th after getting stitches above his eye. He was injured after being hit in the forehead by his thrown helmet after failing to bunt in the ninth inning Saturday and tossing his gear in frustration. The helmet bounced back up and hit him in the head.

UP NEXT

Mariners: Seattle LHP Marco Gonzales (6-10, 3.66 ERA) opposes New York RHP Domingo German (0-1, 8.22) when the Mariners begin a three-game series against the Yankees Monday night.

Astros: RHP Luis Garcia (8-6, 3.81) will start for Houston against RHP Nathan Eovaldi (4-3, 4.43) in the opener of a three-game series with Boston Monday night.

Texas Rangers ink free-agent ace Jacob deGrom to 5-year deal

Jacob deGrom
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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.