Renfroe homers twice, drives in 5 in Brewers’ rout of Reds

Albert Cesare/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK
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CINCINNATI – Hunter Renfroe hit a pair of two-run homers and drove in a season-high five runs, leading the Milwaukee Brewers to their fourth straight win, 10-2 over the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday.

Renfroe’s shots boosted Milwaukee’s homer count against the Reds this season to 42, tied with the 2016 Cubs for the most by any team against Cincinnati in franchise history.

The Brewers (82-70) went into the game second in the NL Central, 7 1/2 games behind the Cardinals, and fourth in the wild-card race. Milwaukee was two games behind San Diego for the third and final slot; the Padres were playing at Colorado.

Milwaukee has won four straight for the first time since July 26-30.

Renfroe tied his career high with four hits in support of Corbin Burnes (11-8). The reigning Cy Young Award-winner gave up four hits and two runs with three walks and eight strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.

The Brewers have outscored the slumping Reds 20-6 in the first three games of the four-game series. Cincinnati (59-93) is a season-high 34 games under .500.

Reds infielder Alejo Lopez pitched the ninth and gave up Rowdy Tellez‘s leadoff homer.

Renfroe blasted a Graham Ashcraft 3-2 pitch into the second deck in left field for a 2-1 lead in the fourth. The shot was Renfroe’s 26th of the season and first since Sept. 9 at Colorado.

Omar Narvaez and Tyrone Taylor added back-to-back RBI singles as Milwaukee sent nine batters to the plate in the inning.

The Reds activated Ashcraft (5-4) from the injured list (right biceps soreness) for his first start since Aug. 19. The Brewers tagged the rookie right-hander for eight hits and four runs with two strikeouts in four innings.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Brewers: CF Tyrone Taylor ran face first into the wall tracking down Matt Reynolds‘ leadoff drive in the second. Taylor held on to the ball and was limping slightly, but he stayed in the game.

Reds: Spencer Steer was hit on his right (back) foot by a Taylor Rogers pitch in the eighth. Steer stayed in the game. . RHP Art Warren had his ulnar collateral ligament repaired but not reconstructed, manager David Bell said on Saturday.

UP NEXT

LHP Nick Lodolo (4-7, 3.90) allowed five hits and two runs with 11 strikeouts and no walks over eight innings in Cincinnati’s 8-2 win at Milwaukee on Sep. 9. RHP Freddie Peralta 4-3, 3.45) will make his first appearance since May 23. He’s been sidelined with right shoulder inflammation.

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.