Marlins’ Sandy Alcantara throws MLB-most 3rd complete game

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MIAMI — Sandy Alcantara threw his major league-leading third complete game and the Miami Marlins beat the Cincinnati Reds 3-0.

The All-Star right-hander allowed six hits, walked one and struck out three on 105 pitches for his third career shutout. Alcantara (10-4) is the first Marlins pitcher to reach double-digit victories in a season since Caleb Smith won 10 in 2019.

“I am very happy about that, hopefully it won’t be just 10 but 15 or 20,” Alcantara said.

Alcantara snapped a tie with Houston’s Framber Valdez for the league lead in complete games.

Luke Williams had three hits and stole a career-high three bases while Jesus Aguilar homered for the Marlins, who snapped a nine-game home losing skid.

The Reds loaded the bases and with two out in the first, but Alcantara retired Donovan Solano on a force at home and Aristides Aquino on a fly to left field.

After Cincinnati forced him to throw 22 pitches in the inning, Alcantara needed 83 the remainder of his outing.

“To get out of that was big,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “I felt at that point, he was going to settle in and they were in for a full dose of Sandy.”

In the lead-up to the All-Star break, Alcantara had completed at least seven innings in 13 consecutive outings. But he lasted 11 innings total in his first two starts following the break.

“Pitching only one inning in the All-Star got me out of rhythm,” Alcantara said. “That one inning held me back a bit. But we are fine now.”

Aguilar put Miami ahead 1-0 with his solo shot in the fourth. He drove a slider from Reds starter Mike Minor into the seats in left for his 13th homer and the Marlins’ first lead in the series.

Garrett Cooper‘s two-run double in the fifth made it 3-0. Williams hit a one-out single, stole second and was in the front end of a double steal after Billy Hamilton walked.

“That’s a part of the game I think is going to start coming back,” Williams said of his base stealing. “It’s obviously part of my game and it’s very exciting.”

Minor (1-8) was lifted after 5 1/3 innings. The left-hander allowed three runs, five hits, walked three and struck out six.

“I just knew it was tough to get a win with a guy like that who’s going to go deep,” Minor said. “In the first inning, he kind of gave us some hope and then he got out of it. The guy’s pretty good.”

ROSTER MOVES

The Marlins activated Cooper from the injured list while the Reds recalled SS Jose Barrero from Triple-A Louisville. With his call-up Wednesday, Barrero became the 31st Cuban player to appear for a major league team this season, surpassing the previous high in the history of the Caribbean nation.

“I’m extremely honored to become the 31st and also very fortunate to represent our country in the major leagues,” Barrero said in Spanish.

FOND MEMORIES OF SCULLY

Mattingly warmly remembered the years he became close to Vin Scully. The Hall of Fame broadcaster, who called Los Angeles Dodgers’ games 67 years, died Tuesday. Before joining the Marlins in 2016, Mattingly managed the Dodgers for five seasons.

“Vin was, in a sense, an artist with the way he painted the game and sculpted your view of watching a game or hearing a game,” Mattingly said. “I was very fortunate to get a few little moments with him where we could talk about anything when you have that 20-minute bus ride.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Reds: The return of C Aramis Garcia will be delayed after an MRI revealed a fracture of his bruised left middle finger.

Marlins: OF Avisail Garcia (left hamstring strain) was placed on the 10-day injured list. Garcia exited in the third inning Tuesday.

UP NEXT

Neither club has announced the starter for the opener of its next series. The Reds will continue their 10-game road trip Friday at Milwaukee, while the Marlins begin a three-game set Friday at the Chicago Cubs.

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.