Angels tie MLB record with 7 solo HRs but lose to Athletics

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Los Angeles Angels tied a major league record with seven solo home runs, including two by Shohei Ohtani, but still lost to the Oakland Athletics 8-7.

The Angels are the first team in the majors to hit seven solo homers and score no other runs in a game. They’re also the sixth team to hit seven homers and lose, according to STATS.

Ramon Laureano homered and drove in four runs, and Seth Brown had a two-run shot during a six-run third inning for AL-worst Oakland. Sean Murphy also drove in two runs for the Athletics, who took the final two games of the series and have won six of their last nine.

Paul Blackburn (7-6) picked up his first win since June 16 despite surrendering four home runs.

Ohtani left Wednesday night’s game due to a left forearm cramp, but he bounced back with three hits and two RBIs. It was his 11th multihomer game in the majors and fifth this season.

Mickey Moriak – acquired from Philadelphia on Tuesday as part of the Noah Syndergaard trade – homered to right with one out in the ninth to get the Angels within a run. Max Stassi drew a walk but Taylor Ward struck out and A.J. Puk got Ohtani to fly out to short on the first pitch for his third save.

Kurt Suzuki, Taylor Ward, Jo Adell and Jared Walsh also went deep for the Angels, who went 2-5 on their homestand. The seven homers also ties an overall franchise record.

The New York Mets were the last team to hit seven solo home runs on June 24, 2018.

Los Angeles led 2-0 after two innings on shots by Ohtani and Suzuki before Oakland broke it open in the third against Halos starter Janson Junk (1-1).

The Athletics sent 11 to the plate in the inning and scored six runs. Laureano tied it at 2 on a one-out double with the bases loaded before Murphy’s double into the left-center gap gave them the lead. Brown then chased Junk by driving a first-pitch curveball into the elevated seats in right-center to make it 6-2.

Junk threw five scoreless innings in his last start July 27 at Kansas City. The right-hander didn’t have the same success this time, with six runs allowed on five hits and two strikeouts.

Laureano extended Oakland’s lead to 8-3 in the fourth when he connected on an elevated sinker by Touki Toussaint for a two-run homer to center.

Blackburn went five innings and was charged with four runs on six hits. The All-Star righty struck out three.

Walsh went deep in the sixth and Ohtani in the seventh to make it 8-6.

ONE BY ONE

Solo shots by Ward and Adell in the third and fourth innings made it only the second time in franchise history the Angels have homered in each of the first four innings. The last time it happened was Aug. 19, 2017, in Baltimore when Mike Trout went deep in the first and third and Luis Valbuena did it in the second and fourth.

It is the third time it has occurred in the majors this season. The Los Angeles Dodgers did it May 24 at Washington and the Minnesota Twins on April 10 against Seattle.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Angels: OF Mike Trout (left ribcage inflammation) began rotational exercises Wednesday. There is no update on when he will resume swinging a bat. … P Griffin Canning (low back stress reaction) has not started throwing and has been ruled out from pitching this season.

UP NEXT

Athletics: Have a rare Friday off before hosting San Francisco in a two-game weekend series. RHP Adam Oller (1-4, 7.68 ERA) pitches Saturday’s Bay Bridge Series opener.

Angels: Hit the road for seven games. LHP Patrick Sandoval (3-7, 3.61 ERA) gets the call Friday night in Seattle.

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.