Bart, Villar, Webb lead Giants past Cubs to end 5-game slide

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CHICAGO — Joey Bart and David Villar each homered, doubled and drove in two runs, helping the San Francisco Giants top the Chicago Cubs 5-2 on Saturday to end a five-game losing streak.

It’s been a down year for San Francisco, well out of contention in the NL West. But youngsters such as Bart and Villar, both 25, might be providing a glimpse of a brighter future that’s not-so-distant.

“Just trying to get good pitches and put a barrel on them,” said Bart, who singled in the ninth to finish with three hits. “There’s a lot of stuff out here to get caught up in and you’ve just got to stay focused on what’s going to make you better, and that’s what I’m trying to do.”

Bart has tried to pass that along to Villar, who’s come up with him in the Giants system.

“Him as a player is a real threat to the ball,” Bart said. “If he turns it on the barrel, it’s going to go. It’s been a blast to watch him.”

Logan Webb (13-8) allowed two runs on six hits over seven innings, while striking out six and walking none.

The 25-year-old right-hander retired 17 of his last 19 hitters, and extended his career highs for wins and innings pitched.

Manager Gabe Kapler gushes about Webb, now in his fourth season.

“Logan Webb’s a star,” Kapler said. “He’s one of the best pitchers in baseball. He’s got a big personality. He’s got a great smile. He’s charismatic and interesting. There’s a ton to love about Logan Webb.”

And Webb’s soaking in the Giants’ transition to younger players.

“You never really know what’s going to happen” Webb said. “They could go and sign 15 guys that are not from here, but it’s fun for me to see because I get to see guys get more comfortable, I guess.”

Joc Pederson doubled and singled for the Giants.

John Brebbia tossed a scoreless eighth. Camilo Doval worked around a leadoff single in the ninth for his 21st save.

Ian Happ doubled twice and drove in a run for the Cubs, who lost for the 10th time in 13 games. Alfonso Rivas tripled and singled.

Chicago starter Marcus Stroman (3-7) yielded four runs – all in the second – and seven hits over four innings. He had allowed one run in 12 innings in his previous two starts.

The Cubs took a 1-0 lead in the first on Happ’s RBI double.

Bart’s 11th homer, to deep left-center, capped the Giants’ four-run second. San Francisco scored its first two runs on Villar’s double and Stroman’s balk with runners on first and third.

“I lifted my leg and everyone yelled, `step off,”‘ Stroman said. “So it happens. I was just little too late. I should have just delivered the pitch.”

The Cubs cut it to 4-2 in the bottom half on Rivas’ triple and an error by second baseman Villar on the relay from right field.

Webb settled in after the second and retired 13 straight before Happ doubled off the left-center all with two outs in the sixth.

Villar made it 5-2 with a line solo shot to left in the eighth.

HOMETOWN HALL

The late Buck O’Neil, the first Black coach in the majors when he was added to the Cubs staff in 1962, was among three inductees to the team’s Hall of Fame on Saturday. Former outfielder Jose Cardenal and longtime play-by-play broadcaster Pat Hughes also were inducted.

LEONE WAIVED

The Giants placed RHP Dominic Leone on unconditional release waivers a day after putting him on the 15-day injured list with elbow impingement. Leone was 4-5 with a 4.01 ERA and three saves in 55 games.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Giants: C Austin Wynns was available off the bench after being struck in the head by a pitch from Drew Smyly on Friday and leaving the game. Bart started behind the plate.

Cubs: 2B Nick Madrigal was placed on the 10-day IL with a right groin strain after undergoing an MRI. He left Friday’s game after the third. . INF Patrick Wisdom (left ring finger sprain) was reinstated from the 10-day IL.

UP NEXT

LHP Wade Miley (1-0, 3.13) starts for the Cubs on Sunday night, his second outing after missing three months with a shoulder injury. Kapler said after the game he wasn’t ready to announce a starter.

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.