Mets ace deGrom tagged, NL East lead cut in 10-4 loss to Athletics

Robert Edwards-USA TODAY Sports
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OAKLAND, Calif. – Jacob deGrom called his rare, late September flop unacceptable.

The Mets ace got hit around and lasted a season-low four innings, and New York lost 10-4 to the Oakland Athletics on Saturday to see its lead cut in the NL East race.

“It happens. It’s unfortunate that it happened. I’m extremely disappointed,” said deGrom, who couldn’t hold an early lead. “We go out and put up three in the first then to go give up four right away is unacceptable. Four walks, just all around unacceptable and a terrible job by me.”

DeGrom (5-3) was tagged for five runs and four walks – the worst start for the two-time NL Cy Young Award winner since 2019. The right-hander had never faced the A’s.

In his last three starts, deGrom has allowed 11 earned runs in 15 innings. The four walks doubled his previous season total.

“I kept thinking I was going to make the adjustment, that was the goal, slow things down let’s make the adjustment. I wasn’t able to,” he said.

The Mets lost for only the second time in their last nine games. Their lead dropped to 1 1/2 games over reigning World Series champion Atlanta after the Braves won 6-3 at Philadelphia.

“He’s spoiled us with a high level of pitching like most of our guys,” manager Buck Showalter said. “I don’t think anybody ever took anything for granted. What he does over a long period in his career is very hard to do.”

Mark Vientos hit a solo home run in the Mets second to make it 4-all. Seth Brown‘s leadoff homer in the third put the A’s ahead for good.

Pete Alonso hit a two-run homer, his 38th, in the Mets first. Staked to an immediate 3-0 lead, deGrom gave up four runs in the bottom half.

DeGrom had struck out eight or more with either one or no walks in eight straight starts, the longest such streak in major league history, but fanned a season-low five.

His last time out against Pittsburgh, deGrom became the only pitcher to strike out at least 13 batters with no walks in five innings.

Francisco Lindor added a sacrifice fly in the first off Ken Waldichuk (1-2) for his 100th RBI of the season.

Waldichuk earned his first major league victory in his fifth career start with five solid innings.

“It was awesome,” Waldichuk said. “I can’t think of a single guy that didn’t play a major role in today’s win.”

Rookie Dermis Garcia hit a two-run double in the bottom of the first against deGrom, who surrendered Vimael Machin‘s one-out single and then issued consecutive walks to Sean Murphy and Brown.

Mets left fielder Jeff McNeil tripped trying to track Garcia’s hit and the ball got past him to the wall.

“He’s always so good. I didn’t help him out,” McNeil said of deGrom. “He’s so good. It’s tough to see him have one of these kind of days. He’s one of the best pitchers in the world so he’s going to come back next time and give us a big game.”

Conner Capel homered among his career-best three hits and drove in a career-high four runs. He had an RBI groundout and Shea Langeliers also doubled in a run in the A’s first.

Capel homered in the fifth and Brown added an RBI single in the sixth. The A’s kept adding on, with Nick Allen hitting an RBI single in the seventh.

Former A’s outfielder Mark Canha was hit by a pitch to start the third. He singled in the first and struck out twice.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets: 2B Luis Guillome exited after being plunked in the fourth. A knot in his arm developed. … CF Brandon Nimmo was held out of the lineup as a precaution after he returned Friday from a left quadriceps injury. He left Wednesday’s game following the first inning hurt then an MRI showed no structural damage. Nimmo is scheduled to play Sunday afternoon’s series finale. Showalter didn’t want to take a chance with Nimmo with the quick turnaround after a night game Friday, and the training staff expects that with the off day Monday he should be full strength by Tuesday. … All-Star RF Starling Marte has been hopeful of returning for a key series with the Braves next week as he works back from a non-displaced fracture of his right middle finger. He traveled back to New York on Saturday afternoon for further imaging tests. Also going back early were starting pitchers Carlos Carrasco and Taijuan Walker.

Athletics: CF Ramon Laureano is recovering from a PRP injection in his right hip that he opted to have because he was already sidelined and expected to miss the remainder of the season with a right hamstring strain. He’s expected to have a normal offseason to be ready for spring training and will begin a rehab program this coming week rejoining the team.

ROSTER MOVE

Oakland designated infielder Sheldon Neuse for assignment to clear roster room for infielder Ernie Clement, claimed off waivers from Cleveland on Friday.

UP NEXT

RHP Max Scherzer (10-4, 2.15 ERA), coming off his 200th career win, faces the A’s for the first time since surrendering five earned runs over six innings in Oakland on May 27, 2014, while with Detroit. The A’s send LHP JP Sears (6-2, 3.58) to the mound to face the Mets for the first time after he beat the Mariners on Tuesday.

RHP Fairbanks, Rays agree to 3-year, $12 million contract

tampa bay rays
Dave Nelson/USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Reliever Pete Fairbanks and the Tampa Bay Rays avoided arbitration when they agreed Friday to a three-year, $12 million contract that could be worth up to $24.6 million over four seasons.

The deal includes salaries of $3,666,666 this year and $3,666,667 in each of the next two seasons. The Rays have a $7 million option for 2026 with a $1 million buyout.

His 2024 and 2025 salaries could increase by $300,000 each based on games finished in the previous season: $150,000 each for 35 and 40.

Tampa Bay’s option price could increase by up to $6 million, including $4 million for appearances: $1 million each for 60 and 70 in 2025; $500,000 for 125 from 2023-25 and $1 million each for 135, 150 and 165 from 2023-25. The option price could increase by $2 million for games finished in 2025: $500,000 each for 25, 30, 35 and 40.

Fairbanks also has a $500,000 award bonus for winning the Hoffman/Rivera reliever of the year award and $200,000 for finishing second or third.

The 29-year-old right-hander is 11-10 with a 2.98 ERA and 15 saves in 111 appearances, with all but two of the outings coming out of the bullpen since being acquired by the Rays from the Texas Rangers in July 2019.

Fairbanks was 0-0 with a 1.13 ERA in 24 appearances last year after beginning the season on the 60-day injured list with a right lat strain.

Fairbanks made his 2022 debut on July 17 and tied for the team lead with eight saves despite being sidelined more than three months. In addition, he is 0-0 with a 3.60 ERA in 12 career postseason appearances, all with Tampa Bay.

He had asked for a raise from $714,400 to $1.9 million when proposed arbitration salaries were exchanged Jan. 13, and the Rays had offered for $1.5 million.

Fairbanks’ agreement was announced two days after left-hander Jeffrey Springs agreed to a $31 million, four-year contract with Tampa Bay that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

Tampa Bay remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, third baseman Yandy Diaz and outfielder Harold Ramirez.