Rhys Hoskins homers as Nola, Phillies beat Braves 9-1

Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
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PHILADELPHIA – Rhys Hoskins homered and drove in four runs, Aaron Nola pitched six shutout innings and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Atlanta Braves 9-1 on Friday night for their third straight victory.

Alec Bohm had three hits for the Phillies (83-67), who moved into second in the NL wild-card standings, a half-game ahead of San Diego.

“Stay on the winning train,” Nola said. “Every game matters right now. We have to stay focused on tomorrow. Win a game tomorrow.”

Dansby Swanson and Eddie Rosario doubled for the Braves, who dropped their third in a row. Atlanta hasn’t lost four straight all season, and it’s just the fourth three-game slide this year for the reigning World Series champions.

“If you handle adversity, there’s good things on the back end of it,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “We’ll keep fighting and get ‘er going again.”

The Braves, who trailed the NL East-leading Mets by 1 1/2 games coming into the day, are on top of the NL wild-card standings.

Philadelphia jumped on Jake Odorizzi (5-6) for four runs in the second inning. A pair of singles by Bohm and Brandon Marsh and a four-pitch walk to Jean Segura loaded the bases with no outs. Bryson Stott hit a sacrifice fly before Matt Vierling‘s RBI single, and Hoskins added a two-run double.

The Phillies tacked on four more runs in the fourth, highlighted by Hoskins’ two-run shot to left for his 29th of the season.

“It was nice to jump on them early,” Hoskins said. “A better sign is we didn’t stop. We continued to add on.”

Said Snitker, “The game kind of got away from us.”

It was more than enough for Nola (10-12), who allowed four hits, struck out eight and walked three. The right-hander has 218 strikeouts and just 29 walks for the season.

“He was absolutely nasty tonight,” Hoskins said.

Odorizzi, making his eighth start with the Braves since he was acquired in an Aug. 1 trade with Houston, gave up eight runs and 10 hits in four innings.

“Too many pitches, too many long counts, couldn’t put hitters away,” Snitker said. “Just wasn’t his day.”

NO WORRIES

Philadelphia improved to 10-9 in September and calmed concerns brought on by a five-game slide that preceded their current win streak. The Phillies are looking to reach the postseason for the first time since 2011 when they won the final of their five straight NL East titles.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Braves: OF Ronald Acuna Jr. (back) sat out for the second consecutive game.

Phillies: Marsh returned to the lineup after missing the previous two games with a left knee contusion, but he was lifted after the fifth as a precautionary measure, interim manager Rob Thomson said. He went 2 for 3 with an RBI.

UP NEXT

Braves RHP Kyle Wright (19-5, 3.18 ERA) opposes Philadelphia LHP Bailey Falter (5-3, 3.68 ERA) in the third contest of the four-game set on Saturday.

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.