Adolis Garcia capped a seven-run fifth inning with a grand slam and the Texas Rangers scored 13 straight runs in a testy 13-5 rout of the Houston Astros on Wednesday night.

Marcus Semien went 3 for 3 with a two-run homer, Nathaniel Lowe went deep and drove in three runs and Leody Tavares added three RBIs as Texas avoided a sweep and extended its AL West lead over Houston to two games.

Following his slam, Garcia exchanged words with catcher Martin Maldonado. That led to the benches and bullpens emptying, though no punches were thrown in the scrum around home plate.

Both benches were warned in the third inning after Houston’s Framber Valdez hit Semien in the left shoulder with a pitch. Rangers’ starter Andrew Heaney hit Yordan Alvarez on the right shoulder with a pitch in the first inning.

Alex Bregman hit a three-run homer in the first inning and Yainer Diaz had a two-run shot in the ninth for the Astros, who had won three straight and six of seven to tighten the division race.

Texas scored four runs in the fourth to chase starter Framber Valdez, who allowed a season-high six runs and eight hits in 3 2/3 innings.

Tavares singled home two runs before Semien connected for his 15th home run.

Sam Huff led off the fifth with his first home run of the season and Robbie Grossman tripled and scored on Tavares’ single. After Semien and Ezequiel Duran singled and Lowe’s walk forced in a run, Garcia belted his grand slam to make it 13-3. 


Brewers’ Peralta overpowers Reds

Freddy Peralta tied a career high with 13 strikeouts over six innings and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Cincinnati Reds 3-0 in an NL Central matchup.

Peralta scattered four hits without a walk and matched the 13 strikeouts he had in his major league debut at Colorado on May 13, 2018.

Elvis Peguero, Joel Payamps and Devin Williams each worked one inning to complete Milwaukee’s 12th shutout of the season.

Tyrone Taylor hit a two-run homer for the Brewers, who won two of three in the series and opened a 1 ½-game lead over the Reds in the Central.


Red Sox rally past Braves

Justin Turner delivered a go-ahead, two-run double in the seventh inning and the Boston Red Sox rallied for their fourth straight win, 5-3 over the major league-leading Atlanta Braves.

Rafael Devers, Triston Casas and Adam Duvall homered to help Boston overcome a three-run deficit on Ozzie Albies’ three-run shot in the sixth inning.

Devers’ 25th home run got the Red Sox on the board in the bottom of the sixth and Casas’ shot in the seventh made it 3-2. After Conner Wong singled and Yu Chang reached on an error, Turner doubled off the Green Monster to put Boston on top.



J.P. France pitched seven strong innings, Kyle Tucker and Martin Maldonado hit solo home runs and the Houston Astros held off the Texas Rangers for a 4-3 win Tuesday, pulling to within a game of the AL West lead.

France gave up five hits and one unearned run while getting through seven innings in just 84 pitches. The 28-year-old rookie improved to 4-0 with a 1.72 ERA over his last five starts.

The Astros, who won Monday’s series opener 10-9, led 4-1 heading into the ninth inning, but closer Ryan Pressly gave up a two-run homer to Mitch Garver with two outs before recording his 24th save.

Houston has won four straight and improved to 6-3 this season against its in-state rival, and the Rangers now lead the AL West by just one game.

Texas has lost four of its last five games and – after a torrid opening to expectation-filled season – has gone 19-23 since June 7.


Abbott sharp as Reds hold off Brewers

Rookie Andrew Abbott scattered seven hits over six scoreless innings and the Cincinnati Reds withstood a frantic ninth-inning comeback attempt to edge the Milwaukee Brewers, 4-3.

Abbott struck out nine and walked one to outduel Corbin Burnes and avenge a pair of losses earlier this month to the Brewers.

Ian Gibault and Lucas Sims each worked one scoreless inning before Daniel Duarte surrendered a walk, a single and Christian Yelich’s opposite-field three-run homer in the ninth to get Milwaukee within 4-3.

Alexis Diaz gave up an infield single to William Contreras and hit Willy Adames in the helmet with a pitch before retiring Andruw Monasterio on a flyout for his 30th save. 

Jonathan India and Joey Votto had RBI singles in the fourth inning and Will Benson provided some needed insurance in the ninth with a two-run homer.

The win moved the Reds within one-half game of the NL Central-leading Brewers.


Mariners score 7 runs late to rally past Twins

Julio Rodriguez’s second home run of the game came in a four-run eighth and helped the Seattle Mariners rally for a 9-7 victory over the Minnesota Twins.

Seattle trailed 4-0 after the first inning and 6-2 entering eighth before score four in the eighth and two more in the ninth.

Cal Raleigh doubled home a run and Teoscar Hernandez had a run-scoring groundout before Rodriguez’s two-run shot – his 16th of the season - made it 6-6.

Rookie Cade Marlowe, who hit his first major league homer in the fifth, opened the ninth with a walk, stole second, moved to third on an infield single and scored with Kolten Wong on Eugenio Suarez’s double.

Minnesota began the day with an MLB-best nine wins since the All-Star break but had a four-game winning streak snapped.



Chas McCormick had a career-high six RBIs and Yainer Diaz singled in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Houston Astros cut into the Texas Rangers' American League West lead with a 10-9 victory on Monday.

McCormick's three-run homer off Aroldis Chapman in the seventh inning tied the game at 9-9 and set up Diaz's later heroics as the Astros took the opener of this key three-game series. Houston's fifth win in six games also moved the reigning World Series champions within two games of the Rangers in the division standings.

Texas reliever Alex Speas walked Kyle Tucker and McCormick in the ninth before Diaz lined a one-out single to right field to send the Rangers to their third loss in four games following a 6-0 start after the All-Star break.

Alex Bregman had three hits and scored twice for Houston, while closer Ryan Pressly threw a scoreless top of the ninth to record the win.

Josh Jung had a two-run homer and Josh Smith added a solo shot for Texas. Rangers starter Jon Gray struck out six in five innings, but walked three and allowed a season high-tying six runs. 


Brewers score in ninth to win opener of key series with Reds

Christian Yelich singled in the deciding run in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Milwaukee Brewers came through with a 3-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds in the opener of an important three-game series between the National League Central's top two teams.

Yelich's hit off All-Star closer Alexis Diaz halted Cincinnati's five-game winning streak and extended Milwaukee's lead over the second-place Reds in the division to 1 1/2 games.

It also continued the Brewers' dominance of Cincinnati this season. Milwaukee has now won nine of 11 meetings between the NL Central rivals and is 6-1 against the Reds in July.

Diaz failed to record an out after entering with the game tied at 2-2 in the bottom of the ninth, as he walked Blake Perkins on four pitches and surrendered a single to pinch-hitter Jesse Winker before Yelich sent a ground ball through the right side of the infield to score Perkins from second.

The Brewers trailed 2-1 before Sal Frelick took Reds starter Graham Ashcraft's pitch over the right-field wall in the sixth inning for his first major league home run.

Elly De La Cruz accounted for all the Reds' scoring with a two-run homer in the third.

Aschcraft struck out eight while allowing two runs in 5 1/3 innings, while Brewers starter Colin Rea yielded two runs over six innings. 


Orioles edge Phillies to stay hot

Colton Cowser delivered late at the plate and in the field as the Baltimore Orioles edged the Philadelphia Phillies 3-2 Monday to earn their 13th win in 16 games.

Cowser, who entered the game in the third inning to replace the injured Aaron Hicks, put the Orioles up in the ninth inning with an RBI double off Philadelphia closer Craig Kimbrel, driving in Gunnar Henderson.

Cowser’s clutch hit came after he collected an outfield assist in the eighth inning with a cutoff throw to shortstop Jorge Mateo, who threw out Bryce Harper at home to keep the game tied 2-2.

Ryan Mountcastle and Jordan Westburg hit solo home runs for the Orioles (62-38), who extended their AL East lead over the idle Tampa Bay Rays to 2 1/2 games.

Dean Kremer allowed one run and three hits in seven innings’ work to outduel Philadelphia starter Cristopher Sanchez, who allowed two runs while also pitching seven innings.

The Phillies (53-47) have lost five of six but remain just a half-game back of an NL wild card spot. 

Freddie Freeman homered and drove in three runs and J.D. Martinez added three RBIs to lead the Los Angeles Dodgers to an 11-5 win, ending the Texas Rangers’ six-game winning streak in a matchup of division leaders on Friday night.

Freeman, Will Smith and Martinez each had two hits and the NL West-leading Dodgers won for the ninth time in 11 games.

Los Angeles erased a 5-4 deficit by scoring seven runs over the final three innings, using three walks – one intentional to Freeman - a single and a wild pitch to push across two in the seventh.

Smith delivered a two-run double and Martinez singled home another run in the eighth, and Mookie Betts doubled home a pair in the ninth.

Rangers All-Star shortstop Corey Seager hit his 15th home run in the sixth inning against his former team to give Texas a 5-4 lead but left in the eighth after spraining his right thumb on a headfirst slide on a double.

Nathaniel Lowe also went deep for West-leading Texas, which had been the only team without a loss since the All-Star break.


Ohtani allows four home runs in win

Shohei Ohtani allowed four home runs for the first time in his career, but the Los Angeles Angels hit four homers of their own in their fourth straight win, 8-5 over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Pirates rookie Henry Davis became the first player to take Ohtani deep twice and Jack Suwinski and Ji Man Choi also homered, but the Japanese superstar struck out nine and pitched into the seventh inning to rebound from losses in consecutive starts.

The Angles scored five times in the fourth and tacked on two more in the fifth.   

After Ohtani led off the fourth with a walk, Mikey Moniak doubled and Taylor Ward walked in front of Mike Moustakas’ three-run homer. Two outs later, rookie Trey Cabbage connected for his first career home run.

Zach Neto and Ward homered in the fifth to extend the Angels’ lead to 8-4.


Tucker hits three home runs in Astros’ win

Kyle Tucker hit three home runs for the first time in his career and Alex Bregman also went deep to lead the Houston Astros to a 6-4 win over the Oakland Athletics.

Tucker homered off starter JP Sears in the first inning, hit a two-run shot off Sears in the fifth and had a solo blast off Tayler Scott in the seventh for his 17th of the season.

Framber Valdez allowed four runs and six hits over five innings to beat lowly Oakland for the third time this season.

The Astros have won nine straight meetings with the A’s.

Jonah Heim and Leody Tavares hit home runs as the Texas Rangers extended their winning streak to six games with Wednesday’s 5-1 victory over the slumping Tampa Bay Rays.

The American League West-leading Rangers completed a sweep of the three-game series and remained unbeaten since the All-Star break, while the reeling Rays dropped percentage points behind the Baltimore Orioles for the AL East lead with their fourth consecutive loss.

Tampa Bay entered July with the majors’ best record at 57-28 but has gone 3-11 for the month.

Tavares opened the scoring with a solo homer off Zach Littell in the third inning and added an RBI single in the seventh to stretch Texas’ lead to 2-0. Heim put the game out of reach an inning later with a three-run blast for his 14th homer of the season.

Rangers starter Jon Gray threw 4 1/3 scoreless innings before exiting with a bruised left shin, caused by a comebacker off the bat of All-Star Yandy Diaz. Brock Burke relieved Gray and tossed two shutout innings to receive the win.

Jose Siri finished 2 for 4 for Tampa Bay and accounted for the Rays’ lone run with a solo homer in the ninth.



Orioles avoid sweep from Dodgers, take AL East lead

The Baltimore Orioles inched ahead of the Rays in the AL East race ahead of Thursday’s visit to Tampa Bay by coming through with an 8-5 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers that prevented the National League West leaders from sweeping the three-game series.

Ramon Urias drove in three runs on a pair of doubles and Gunnar Henderson had a solo homer while scoring three times as Baltimore roughed up Dodgers starter Julio Urias and bounced back from a 10-3 loss on Tuesday.

Urias was tagged for a season-high eight runs on eight hits in five innings.

The Orioles also got two hits and an RBI from both Aaron Hicks and Jordan Westburg to gain some momentum entering a pivotal four-game series with the Rays that pits the teams with the AL’s two best records.

Max Muncy had a two-run homer for Los Angeles, his 22nd of the season, while Josh Outman added a solo shot in just the Dodgers’ second loss in 10 games.


Reds snap skid, cool Giants

Will Benson’s three-run homer propelled the Cincinnati Reds to a 3-2 win and ended the San Francisco Giants’ seven-game winning streak.

Graham Ashcraft pitched six-plus innings and Ian Gibault and Lucas Sims each worked one inning before Alexis Diaz struck out two in the ninth for his 27th save in 28 chances.

The Reds halted a season high-tying six-game skid despite being held to four hits.

Blake Sabol homered for the Giants, who dropped into a second-place tie with the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL West.



The Texas Rangers will be well represented at next month’s All-Star Game in Seattle after they had a franchise-record four players elected to start.

The American League West leaders will have catcher Jonah Heim, third baseman Josh Jung, shortstop Corey Seager and second baseman Marcus Semien as starters. Heim and Jung are first-time All-Stars, Seager will be making his fourth appearance and Semien is an All-Star for the second time.

The Rangers are 49-32 and in line for their first winning season since 2016 and will host next year’s All-Star Game.

Los Angeles Angels superstar Mike Trout was selected for his 11th appearance and will be joined in the lineup by teammate Shohei Ohtani, who last week was chosen as the designated hitter as the league’s top-vote getter in the first round.

Also elected as first-time starters were Tampa Bay Rays teammates Yandy Diaz and Randy Arozarena, Atlanta Braves shortstop Orlando Arcia and catcher Sean Murphy, Miami Marlins second baseman Luis Arraez and Arizona Diamondbacks rookie Corbin Carroll.

The Los Angeles Dodgers will have three players starting for the NL: first baseman Freddie Freeman, outfielder Mookie Betts and DH J.D. Martinez.

St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado was elected to his fifth start and eighth appearance.

Aaron Judge was voted to start for the fifth time, but the Yankees star hasn’t played since June 3 because of a torn ligament in his right big toe.

Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. earned an outfield spot last week as the NL’s top vote-getter during the first round.



Red-hot Phillies win 9th straight on road

Kyle Schwarber homered on the game’s first pitch to back Taijuan Walker’s strong start and the surging Philadelphia Phillies finished a three-game sweep of the Chicago Cubs with a 3-1 victory.

Bryce Harper knocked in two runs and Trea Turner added two hits and a run to help the Phillies win for the 18th time in 23 games. They have won nine straight road contests to match their best streak since May 1984.

Walker limited the Cubs to one run and six hits over six innings to win his fifth start in a row. He has a 0.84 in that span.


Ohtani hits 14th June home run in Angels’ loss

Shohei Ohtani extended his major league lead with his 29th home run but the Los Angeles Angels fell to the Chicago White Sox, 9-7.

Ohtani’s two-run shot in the ninth inning off Kendall Graveman was his 14th home run in June, breaking the Angels’ record. He is 14 for 30 with five home runs and eight RBIs in his last seven games.

Eloy Jimenez and Zach Remillard each had two-run singles in Chicago’s six-run third inning, and the White Sox won their second straight despite giving up four home runs.

The Tampa Bay Rays re-discovered their free-scoring ways as Isaac Paredes managed a career-high five RBIs in a 14-5 victory over the slumping Chicago White Sox on Thursday.

The Sox fall to their eighth straight loss, even with Dylan Cease on the mound, pounded for seven runs from nine hits across four innings, with only three strikeouts.

Paredes started it off with a second-inning RBI single, grounded out to third to score Randy Arozarena in the fifth, before a three-run double in the sixth opened up an 11-2 lead.

Brandon Lowe maintained his excellent early season hitting with a 358-foot third inning homer along with a two-run single in the fifth. Lowe's solo shot took his season tally to seven homers.

Shane McClanahan (5-0) allowed two runs and struck out five across five innings, while Luke Raley went three-for-five with three RBIs including a ninth-inning homer, and moved from the outfield to the mound in the ninth.

The Rays, who started the season 13-0, had been beaten and shut out in consecutive games by the Houston Astros, 1-0 and 5-0 on Wednesday and Tuesday respectively.

Tampa Bay delivered 16 hits for the game and ended their scoreless run at 20 innings.

Ohtani's mixed game as Angels edge home

Shohei Ohtani responded after a shaky start on the mound to lead the Los Angeles Angels past the Oakland Athletics 8-7.

Ohtani (4-0) earned the win, although he gave up five runs in a rough fourth inning, with three-run blasts to Brent Rooker and a two-run homer to Shea Langeliers. He had thrown three perfect innings to that point and finished with eight strikeouts, allowing three hits across six innings.

The Japanese two-way star went three-for-five with the bat, including a triple, double and single, scoring two runs, with an eighth-inning shot caught by Esteury Ruiz on the warning track in center field.

Brandon Drury delivered a 409-foot three-run home run over left-center field in the first inning, with Ohtani scoring after his prior double.

Keller fans 10 as Pirates continue fine form

Mitch Keller matched his career-high 10 strikeouts as the Pittsburgh Pirates downed the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-2.

Keller improved to 3-0, giving up two runs on five hits across six innings, as the Pirates continued their excellent run having won nine of their past 10, moving to an 18-8 record.

Pittsburgh rallied from an early 2-0 deficit, with three runs at the bottom of the first inning, before Connor Joe's two-run blast followed by Rodolfo Castro's 414-foot homer in the sixth.

Randy Arozarena was the hero as the Tampa Bay Rays set a major league record for scoring homers in each of their first 21 games in a 4-3 win over the Chicago White Sox on Saturday.

Arozarena brought up the milestone with a two-run blast over left-center field in the first inning, before hitting a walkoff RBI single in the 10th.

The Rays, who started the season with 13 straight wins, improved their record to 18-3, marking the best start by any side in the majors since the New York Yankees in 2003.

Tampa Bay also broke the Seattle Mariners' 2019 record of homering in 20 straight games to start that season.

The game was in the balance after homers from Eloy Jimenez and Yasmani Grandal for the White Sox, before Arozarena singled to left for Diaz to score at the bottom of the fifth.

Gavin Sheets squared the game up with a homer to right field at the top of the eighth, before Arozarena settled the game.

Jimmy Lambert intentionally walked Wander Franco with two out and a runner on second, before Arozarena's first-pitch single to right field, driving in Vidal Brujan. Arozarena finished with four RBIs.

Shane McClanahan sent down 10 strikeouts across six innings, while White Sox starter Dylan Cease had five K's.

Garcia crushed three HRs in Rangers rout

Adolis Garcia blasted three home runs and eight RBIs in five innings as the Texas Rangers smoked the Oakland Athletics 18-3.

Garcia blasted a two-run 432-foot homer at the bottom of the first, repeating the dose in the third inning with a 419-foot bomb over center.

The Rangers outfielder made it 13-2 at the bottom of the fifth with 401-feet blast, before a two-run double in the seventh capped a remarkable showing, taking his season tally to seven homers and 28 RBIs.

Garcia went five-for-four, becoming the third player since 1901 with at least 16 total bases, three homers, eight RBIs and five runs in a single game.

Tatis homers for first time since 2021

Fernando Tatis Jr blasted his first home run since returning from an 80-game drug suspension as the San Diego Padres won 5-3 over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Tatis, in his third game back since the suspension elapsed, crushed a 374-foot homer over left field for his first blast since 2021. The Padres outfielder led the majors for homers in 2021, with 42.

Right-hander Joe Musgrove earned his first win of the season, following a toe injury sustained in the weight room during spring training, striking out six, giving up three runs on seven hits.

Shohei Ohtani helped his Los Angeles Angels snap a three-game losing streak on Sunday, igniting a 5-4 road win against the Boston Red Sox.

Ohtani started on the mound at Fenway Park, giving up one run while striking out three batters across the opening two innings. 

He also collected a base hit in the first frame, and followed it with another single in the second, before rain arrived and forced a weather delay.

With his arm cooling down during the lengthy break, Ohtani was replaced by Tucker Davidson upon resumption, but the five runs the Angels put up in the first two innings proved to be enough.

The catalyst for their bright offensive start was Hunter Renfroe, connecting on a three-run homer with the game's fourth at-bat. Renfroe then added his fourth RBI of the contest an inning later with a ground-out.

Red Sox star Rafael Devers tried to ignite a late comeback in the bottom of the ninth, with his RBI single bridging the gap to 5-4 while runners remained on first and second base with one out, but Rob Refsnyder and Masataka Yoshida could not muster a hit from either of the final two at-bats.

After the win, Angels manager Phil Nevin said the team would discuss moving up Ohtani's next start due to his limited workload this time out.

Rangers pitch combined one-hitter 

There was an injury scare for Texas Rangers ace Jacob deGrom, but it could not sour their terrific 4-0 shutout of the Kansas City Royals.

DeGrom was withdrawn after four innings of work with what the team called a precaution due to wrist soreness, but he held the Royals hit-less during those four innings, and the bullpen only allowed one hit the rest of the way.

Dane Dunning came in and tossed four innings in relief, allowing one hit and one walk in a great showing, while the bulk of the offensive damage was done by a three-run homer from Josh Jung in the first inning.

It was Jung's third home run of the season, and team-mate Marcus Semien joined him with three for the campaign after a solo homer of his own.

Rays keep home run streak alive in loss

The Tampa Bay Rays suffered a disappointing 8-1 road defeat at the hands of the Cincinnati Reds, but not before keeping their historic home run streak alive.

The Rays were down 8-0 in the last inning when Josh Lowe hit a consolation home run, but with it, he marked the 17th consecutive game Tampa have hit a home run in to start the season.

Tampa Bay slipped to a still league-leading 14-3 record with the loss, but they are now just three games with a home run away from tying the 2019 Seattle Mariners for the longest streak to start a season in MLB history.

The Texas Rangers continued to add to their rotation Tuesday, signing pitcher Nathan Eovaldi to a two-year, $34million deal.

The contract includes a third-year vesting player option, and performance bonuses could increase the total value of the contract.

Eovaldi, who turns 33 in February, will be joining his sixth major league team in his 11th season. He spent the past four-and-a-half seasons with the Boston Red Sox and is perhaps best known for his performance in their 2018 World Series win.

In 22-and-a-third innings in those playoffs, Eovaldi went 2-1 with a 1.61 ERA, and had wins as a starter in Game 3 of both the American League Division and Championship Series.

The right-hander finished fourth in AL Cy Young voting in 2021 after going 11-9 with 3.75 ERA and 195 strikeouts in 32 starts. He made two trips to the injured list last season and was limited to 20 starts, going 6-3 with a 3.87 ERA.

The Rangers added two-time NL Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom on a five-year contract earlier this month and gave left-hander Andrew Heaney a two-year deal a week later. They join holdovers Jon Gray, Jake Odorizzi and Martin Perez in what figures to be a crowded rotation.

Prior to last season, Texas committed a combined $500m on middle infielders Corey Seager and Marcus Semien, but finished 68-94 and fired manager Chris Woodward in August.

Jacob deGrom has not tallied more than 15 starts in any of his past three seasons for the New York Mets, but the new Texas Rangers signing is aiming for double that figure in his first campaign down south.

DeGrom, 34, won back-to-back NL Cy Young Awards in 2018 and 2019, starting 32 games in each season, but a string of injuries have restricted the former Rookie of the Year to a combined 38 starts since the beginning of 2020.

He did not make his debut this year until after the All-Star break, but looked like his dominant self once again, striking out 14.3 batters per nine innings. DeGrom did not reach enough innings to qualify for the league-leaders, but his figure was well clear of Carlos Rodon's league-leading 12.0.

While his health was at the centre of the Mets' reluctance to match the Rangers' five-year, $185million offer, deGrom told reporters on Thursday during his first interview with his new team that he is not planning on easing into things.

"The goal is to make 30-plus starts, and I truly believe that I will be able to do that," he said.

"Last year's was a weird injury, but finished the year strong, and the goal's to go out there and take the ball every fifth day for the Texas Rangers."

He also talked about how he appreciated the Rangers' approach to his free agency.

"The Rangers did a great job with constant communication and making me feel like they really wanted me here," he said. "The vision was the same: build something great, and win year in and year out.

"They showed a ton of interest right at the start, and the feelings were mutual. I want to play this game for a long time, and I want to win."

Rangers manager Bruce Bochy was thrilled to land the top starter on the free agent market, while further rebuilding his rotation with former Dodgers left-hander Andrew Heaney.

"I'm ecstatic," he said. "To win in our game, you need pitching.

"We couldn't have a better guy to head up this rotation. We've added to the rotation. So don't tell me we can't win... we're a much better club right now than just a few weeks ago."

The Rangers' heavy investment in their pitching staff comes a year after they handed shortstop Corey Seager a 10-year, $325m free agent contract, pairing him with second-baseman Marcus Semien on a seven-year, $175m deal.

The Texas Rangers continue to be busy in the free-agent market, signing veteran left-handed starting pitcher Andrew Heaney on Tuesday to a two-year contract.

The deal is worth $25million with another $12m available in incentives, and includes an opt-out after the first season, according to ESPN.

The 31-year-old Heaney had a bounce-back season with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2022, going 4-4 with a 3.10 ERA in 16 appearances, including 14 starts.

After missing most of the first half of the season due to two stints on the injured list from left shoulder inflammation, Heaney returned to post a 1.09 WHIP and struck out a career-best 13.6 batters per nine innings.

Heaney joins a rotation that includes Jacob deGrom, who the Rangers signed to a five-year, $185m contract last week. DeGrom, considered the best pitcher in baseball when healthy, was the latest massive contract handed out by the Rangers.

Texas spent a combined $500m on middle infielders Corey Seager and Marcus Semien last offseason, and now add Heaney and DeGrom to a rotation that could include holdovers Jon Gray, and Martin Perez and recently acquired Jake Odorizzi.

In nine seasons with the Miami Marlins, Los Angeles Angels, New York Yankees and Dodgers, Heaney is 36-42 with a 4.56 ERA in 137 games, including 126 starts.

The Texas Rangers have not been shy about spending money recently, and that continued Friday as they agreed to a five-year, $185million contract with two-time Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom.

DeGrom, who has spent his entire nine-year career with the New York Mets, is perhaps the most dominant pitcher in baseball when healthy.

His career 2.52 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.

"We are thrilled that Jacob deGrom has decided to become a Texas Ranger," executive vice president and general manager Chris Young said in a statement.

"Over a number of seasons, Jacob has been a standout major league pitcher, and he gives us a dominant performer at the top of our rotation. One of our primary goals this offseason is to strengthen our starting pitching, and we are adding one of the best."

This blockbuster move comes just before baseball's winter meetings, which begin early next week in San Diego. The Rangers said deGrom will be introduced in a news conference at Globe Life Field next week following the winter meetings.

"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."

DeGrom, however, has been limited to 26 starts and 156-and-a-third innings over the past two seasons due to elbow, forearm and shoulder blade injuries. 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.

"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," Young said. "And one we feel like is worth taking with a player of Jacob's caliber."

The Rangers have spent nearly $761m in free agency over the past year, including massive contracts last offseason to shortstop Corey Seager ($325m, 10 years) and second baseman Marcus Semien ($175m, seven years). The moves didn’t pay off, though, as they finished 68-94 for their sixth consecutive losing season.

Texas responded by hiring three-time World Series champion Bruce Bochy as their new manager in October.

DeGrom didn’t make his season debut this past season until August, and went 5-4 with a 3.08 ERA in 11 starts. After helping the Mets reach the playoffs, he passed up a $30.5m salary for 2023 and opted out his contract to become a free agent for the first time.

DeGrom won consecutive Cy Young Awards in 2018 and 2019 and is 82-57 with 1,607 strikeouts in 1,326 innings over nine big league seasons.

The Texas Rangers have lured former San Francisco Giants skipper Bruce Bochy out of a brief retirement to take over as manager.

Bochy stepped away from managing after the 2019 season following a successful 13-year run in San Francisco in which he guided the Giants to three World Series titles between 2010 and 2014.

The 67-year-old previously spent 12 seasons as the San Diego Padres' manager from 1995-2006, a period that saw them make four postseason appearances and reached the World Series in 1998.

One of 12 managers to achieve 2,000 victories, Bochy sports an overall record of 2,003-2,029 in regular-season play and 44-33 in postseason games.

The 1996 National League Manager of the Year also has ties to Rangers general manager Chris Young, who pitched for the Padres during Bochy's final season there in 2006.

"In his 25 years with San Diego and San Francisco, Bruce was one of the most successful and respected managers in Major League Baseball," Young said in a statement.

"With a calm and steady presence, he has a remarkable ability to connect and communicate with players, coaches and staff, and his teams have always played with maximum effort. His knowledge of the game, as well as his integrity, is unmatched.

"As we went through the interview process, Bruce's passion and excitement about returning to the dugout was very evident. It became clear he was the ideal individual to lead our club as we continue to build a championship culture here in Arlington."

Bochy takes over a Texas team that has been mired in six straight losing seasons and failed to meet heightened expectations in 2022.

The Rangers were big spenders in free agency this past offseason, handing out big contracts to land ex-Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager and former Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Marcus Semien, but finished second-last in the American League West at 68-94.

The Rangers fired manager Chris Woodward in August and went just 17-31 after third base coach Tony Beasley was promoted to interim manager.


Aaron Judge stands alone at the top of home run history in the American League after breaking Roger Maris' 61-year single-season homer record with his 62nd blast in the New York Yankees' 3-2 loss to the Texas Rangers on Tuesday.

Judge, who had hit just one homer in his previous 13 games coming in, blasted a 1-1 slider off Rangers' pitcher Jesus Tinoco over the left-field fence for a lead-off homer to break the mark.

The Yankees outfielder's home run was his 62nd of the season, surpassing Maris' 61-homer mark from 1961, which he had matched last Wednesday against the Toronto Blue Jays.

The blast came in the Yankees' penultimate game of the regular season, with Judge's 62 homers sitting seventh for most in a single season in MLB history.

Ahead of Judge are only three players, all from 1997 to 2001; Barry Bonds (73 in 2001), Mark McGwire (70 in 1999 and 65 in 1999) and Sammy Sosa (66 in 1998, 64 in 2001, 63 in 1999).

The home run means 11 of Judge's past 14 blasts have come on the road. Gerrit Cole also made franchise history, reaching 257 strikeouts for the most in a single season for the Yankees.

The Yankees were beaten after the Rangers added two fifth-inning runs, with the visitors having won the first game in the double header 5-4 when Judge went one-for-five with a single.

Braves complete turnaround to clinch NL East

Following their sweep over the New York Mets, the Atlanta Braves clinched their fifth straight National League (NL) East title with a 2-1 victory over the Miami Marlins.

William Contreras drove in the go-ahead run in the fifth inning with an infield single, earning the reigning world champions a first-round bye as the NL second seed. The achievement comes after the Braves had trailed the Mets by 10-and-a-half games in June.

Jake Odorizzi had seven strikeouts across five innings, while Kenley Jansen recorded his 41st save with a perfect ninth inning. Ronald Acuna Jr hit a second-inning single to give the Braves an early lead.

AL seeds locked in as Verlander stars for Astros

The Seattle Mariners locked in the number five seed in the AL playoffs with a 7-6 walkoff win over the Detroit Tigers, highlighted by back-up catcher Luis Torrens pitching the 10th inning.

Entering extras ahead of the postseason, the Mariners shuffled their deck, with Torrens becoming the first position player other than Shohei Ohtani to earn a win since John Baker in 2014 for the Chicago Cubs. Abraham Toro's sacrifice fly allowed Carlos Santana to score the walkoff run.

That result meant the Tampa Bay Rays were locked for the third AL Wild Card spot, not helped by a 6-0 loss to the Boston Red Sox where Xander Bogaerts delivered a fifth-inning grand slam.

Meanwhile, the Houston Astros go into the postseason as the AL top seed after a 10-0 win over the Philadelphia Phillies where Cy Young Award favourite Justin Verlander had 10 K's and kept the opposition hitless until the ninth inning.

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