Hits by Siri, Peralta lift Rays to 3-2 win over Blue Jays

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Hits by newly acquired Jose Siri and David Peralta produced the winning run for the Tampa Bay Rays in a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.

Siri led off the Tampa Bay sixth with a single off Adam Cimber (8-4). He stole second, moved to third on a groundout and scored on Peralta’s tiebreaking single.

Peralta had two of Tampa Bay’s six hits, all singles, after they managed just two hits in Tuesday night’s 3-1 loss.

Peralta was acquired in a trade with Arizona on Saturday, and Siri came over from Houston in a three-way trade on Monday.

“I had a lot of pressure,” Peralta said after driving in his first run for the Rays. “I got here Sunday. We lost. Yesterday we lost and I’m like, `Come on. You’ve got to do something.’ We needed to start winning.

“But I was trying not to do too much. I knew it was going to happen, but it happened today.”

Ryan Thompson (3-2) got the win after pitching two hitless innings. Jason Adam worked the ninth for his fifth save in six attempts.

Teoscar Hernandez drove in Toronto’s runs with a first-inning double and his 15th homer in the fourth.

Yusei Kikuchi allowed two runs and three hits in four innings, striking out five. He threw 74 pitches in his second start after a three-week layoff due to a neck strain.

“Overall I felt good,” Kikuchi said through a translator. “All three pitches were working so I feel like I’m going to keep getting better and better.”

Rays opener Jalen Beeks pitched one inning and Ryan Yarbrough followed with four innings, giving up Hernandez’s homer as his only hit. It was Hernandez’s sixth career homer off Yarbrough.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr.‘s eighth-inning single was Toronto’s only hit in four innings against Thompson, Pete Fairbanks and Adam. The Blue Jays got only four men on base after the first inning and one was doubled up on a line drive.

“(Toronto has) arguably one of the best lineups in the league so anytime you can shut them down like that, that’s a big win for us,” Adam said. “Hopefully we can use some of that momentum and roll it into a nice little streak here.”

The Blue Jays (58-46) began the day as the AL’s wild-card leader after winning 13 of their previous 16 games. The Rays (55-49) won for only the third time in 11 games.

“You want to end a homestand on a good note, especially against someone we’re chasing right now in the wild-card standings,” Yarbrough said. “So everyone’s in a good spot right now, and we’ve got a couple of new additions on the team.”

MERRIFELD’S VACCINATION DECISION

Whit Merrifield, a two-time All-Star second baseman who was acquired by Toronto in a trade with Kansas City on Tuesday, has a week to decide whether to get vaccinated so he can play in Canada.

Merrifield was one of 10 unvaccinated Royals who could not play in the July 14-17 series in Toronto because of Canadian travel restrictions.

“Obviously we knew he wasn’t there (with the Royals) in Toronto, but it’s a personal choice for him,” interim Toronto manager John Schneider said. “I’m sure he’s had conversations with his family and other people. So we’re looking forward to having him tomorrow in Minnesota.”

The Blue Jays will play in Minnesota this weekend and in Baltimore next week before returning to Toronto on Aug. 12 to open a six-game homestand.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: RHP Ross Stripling was placed on the 15-day IL with a right glut strain. … OF George Springer missed the fourth of five games with a sore right elbow, but he has resumed baseball activities.

Rays: RHP Matt Wisler (neck strain) is almost ready to pitch a rehab inning before being activated. … OF Harold Ramirez, out since July 18, is due for another X-ray on his fractured right thumb.

UP NEXT

Blue Jays: Alek Manoah (11-5, 2.42 ERA) will open a four-game series at Minnesota on Thursday night.

Rays: LHP Jeffrey Springs (3-3, 2.70 ERA) will pitch Thursday night’s opener of a four-game series at Detroit.

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.