Gallen ties scoreless start record as Arizona stops Brewers

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PHOENIX – Zac Gallen tied the major-league record with his sixth consecutive scoreless start on Sunday, leading the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 5-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.

Gallen (11-2) extended his scoreless streak to 41 1/3 innings. He allowed only two singles and a walk in seven innings. He struck out seven and retired the last 11 batters he faced.

Gallen tied Don Drysdale (1968), Orel Hershiser (1988) and Zack Greinke (2015), all with the Los Angeles Dodgers, by not allowing a run in his sixth straight start. Hershiser set the MLB record with 59 consecutive scoreless innings.

In those six games, Gallen is 5-0 with a 0.58 WHIP. He has allowed 16 hits, walked eight and struck out 46 in his scoreless streak. He is two outs away from matching the Diamondbacks’ franchise record of 42 innings, set by Brandon Webb in 2007.

Daulton Varsho hit his 20th homer and helped preserve Gallen’s scoreless streak with a running catch on Tyrone Taylor‘s drive to right center in the second. The catch came with two outs and a runner at first.

Gallen didn’t allow more than one baserunner in any inning and struck out the side in the fifth.

The Diamondbacks scored in the second inning against Jason Alexander (2-2) when Corbin Carroll walked and advanced to third on Carson Kelly‘s single off shortstop Willy Adames‘ glove. Carroll scored on Alek Thomas‘ sacrifice fly. Varsho’s home run, to right field, came in the third.

In the fifth, Jake McCarthy greeted reliever Hoby Milner with a broken-bat single to right, scoring Josh Rojas with Arizona’s third run. McCarthy hit a two-run homer in the eighth off Brent Suter, his seventh home run of the season.

Alexander, a 29-year-old who debuted earlier this season, pitched 4 2-3 innings for Milwaukee. He gave up five hits, three runs, walked four and struck out three.

Hunter Renfroe spoiled the combined shutout bid when he hit his 24th homer off Mark Melancon in the ninth. Kyle Nelson pitched a scoreless eighth.

The Brewers, who managed just three hits in the game, began the day 2 1/2 games behind Philadelphia for the final National League wild card. They trail St. Louis by 8 1/2 in the Central Division race. Milwaukee is trying for its fifth consecutive postseason appearance.

Brewers manager Craig Counsell was denied his 600th career victory. The winningest manager in franchise history, Counsell is 599-542 (.524).

LOOK OUT

Milner had to avoid Thomas’ broken bat while fielding a comebacker in the sixth. The Brewer left-hander dodged a wedge of the bat that followed the ball, then went back to the mound to retrieve the ball and threw out Thomas.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Brewers OF Christian Yelich (neck discomfort) missed his third straight game.

NEXT

Brewers: Freddy Peralta (4-3, 3.56) opposes fellow RHP Ryan Feltner (2-6, 5.78) at Colorado.

Diamondbacks: RHP Ryne Nelson, currently at Triple-A Reno, will make his major-league debut for Arizona on Monday at San Diego against LHP Blake Snell (6-7, 3.87).

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.