MLB ROUNDUP: SHOHEI OHTANI SHINES AS ANGELS SWEEP TIGERS
Shohei Ohtani tossed the first complete-game shutout of his career, Taylor Ward hit two homers and the visiting Los Angeles Angels blanked the Detroit Tigers 6-0 in the opener of a doubleheader on Thursday afternoon.
Ohtani (9-5) allowed only one hit — a Kerry Carpenter single in the fifth. He walked three and struck out eight. Ohtani had never previously pitched more than eight innings.
Ohtani’s scheduled start was moved up from Friday after the second game of the series was postponed due to inclement weather. He was reportedly taken off the trade market on Wednesday.
Ward drove in three runs, as did Trey Cabbage. Mike Moustakas scored a pair of runs for Los Angeles, which has won seven of its last eight games.
Detroit starter Michael Lorenzen (5-7) gave up three runs and five hits while striking out seven in five innings.
Angels 11, Tigers 4 (Game 2)
Shohei Ohtani hit a pair of homers and drove in three runs before departing with cramping as Los Angeles completed a doubleheader sweep with a victory over host Detroit.
Ohtani hit his major league leading 37th and 38th home runs but grabbed his side after the latter homer. Ohtani tossed the first complete game shutout of his career in the Angels’ 6-0 victory earlier in the day. He allowed only one hit and struck out eight.
Hunter Renfroe had three hits, including a homer, and drove in two runs in the nightcap for the Angels, who have won eight of their last nine games. Matt Thaiss and Luis Rengifo drove in two runs apiece and Eduardo Escobar added a solo home run. Angels starter Patrick Sandoval (6-7) gave up two runs and five hits in five innings.
Cubs 10, Cardinals 3
Justin Steele earned his fourth victory over St. Louis this season as visiting Chicago extended its winning streak to six games.
Steele (11-3) allowed one run on five hits and three walks in six innings. He struck out four. Yan Gomes drove in three runs, while Mike Tauchman had a homer, two singles and two RBIs for the Cubs.
Andrew Knizner hit two homers and drove in three runs for the Cardinals, whose starting pitcher, Miles Mikolas (6-6), was ejected in the first inning after throwing one pitch up and in to the Cubs’ Ian Happ, then hitting him on the hip on the next pitch. Happ had earlier connected with catcher Willson Contreras’ head on an errant backswing, causing a scalp laceration and the catcher’s exit.
Guardians 6, White Sox 3
Josh Naylor doubled twice and drove in three and five teammates had two hits each as visiting Cleveland defeated skidding Chicago.
The Guardians won for the fifth time in seven games to move over the .500 mark. The White Sox took their sixth straight loss despite getting two homers from Jake Burger.
Cleveland rookie Tanner Bibee (7-2) scattered three runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings. Emmanuel Clase worked around consecutive two-out singles in the ninth for his 28th save.
Mets 2, Nationals 1
Daniel Vogelbach and Mark Canha each had an RBI during a rain-delayed eighth inning for host New York, which beat Washington in the opener of a four-game series.
With Washington up 1-0, Jeff McNeil and Pete Alonso singled with one out off Mason Thompson before Vogelbach hit the game-tying single, after which DJ Stewart was hit by a pitch to load the bases. A rain delay of 1 hour, 37 minutes followed. When play resumed, Canha greeted reliever Kyle Finnegan by hitting a sacrifice fly, scoring Alonso.
David Peterson (3-7) tossed two scoreless innings of relief for the Mets, who are 6-6 since the All-Star break. Brooks Raley earned his second save by working around a two-out walk in the ninth. Keibert Ruiz lofted a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning for the Nationals, who lost for just the second time in seven games.
METS TRADE CLOSER DAVID ROBERTSON TO MARLINS FOR TWO MINOR LEAGUERS
NEW YORK (AP) The New York Mets began the process of dismantling the team with the largest payroll of all-time late Thursday night, trading closer David Robertson to the Miami Marlins for two teenage minor leaguers.
The Mets, who began the season with a $353 million payroll, beat the Washington Nationals 2-1 to improve to 48-54. They are seven games behind the Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds, who are in a virtual tie for the last two NL wild-card spots.
The trade results in a savings of nearly $6.75 million for the Mets. The Marlins pay the $3,548,387 remaining of Robertson’s $10 million salary. New York’s luxury tax bill is reduced by $3.19 million.
“We didn’t have visions of this at the start of the season,” Mets general manager Billy Eppler said.
The Marlins, with the seventh-lowest payroll in the majors at a little more than $91 million, are a half-game behind the Phillies and Reds after going 7-13 this month.
Robertson warmed up in the eighth inning of a tie game before a 97-minute rain delay gave Eppler and Marlins general manager Kim Ng time to complete the trade. Brooks Raley pitched the ninth and earned his second save.
“That was unique,” Eppler said. “But the rain delay provided an opportunity for us to kind of get a final offer from Miami.”
Miami sent a pair of players from its rookie-level Florida Complex League affiliate, Marco Vargas and catcher Ronald Hernandez, to the Mets in exchange for Robertson, who signed a one-year deal in December with the expectations he’d help serve as a late-inning bridge to closer Edwin Diaz.
But Diaz suffered a torn patella tendon during the World Baseball Classic, vaulting the 38-year-old Robertson into the ninth-inning role. Robertson has been the Mets’ most reliable reliever, getting 14 saves and posting a 2.05 ERA for a team that entered Thursday with a 4.22 bullpen ERA – the 10th-worst in the majors.
“I’ve said (it) I don’t know how many times – there’s a ton of talent in this clubhouse, we just weren’t able to put it together,” Robertson said. “When you can’t put it together in time, GMs and owners have to make decisions. And I was one of those decisions and I got moved.”
Eppler said the Mets remain in listening mode. Mark Canha, Tommy Pham and Carlos Carrasco are all due to hit free agency after the season while Omar Narváez, in the first year of a two-year deal, lost the everyday starting catching job to rookie Francisco Álvarez.
Max Scherzer has a $43.3 million player option for next season while fellow former Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander is guaranteed $43.3 million in 2024, the final season of his two-year deal.
“It’s a little different than just declaring it and calling everybody and saying we’re sellers,” Eppler said. “It’s more just looking at it on a case-by-case basis, hearing who clubs kind of covet and hearing what their kind of price point is on players.”
PITTSBURGH PIRATES SEND 1B CARLOS SANTANA TO THE BREWERS
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Veteran first baseman/designated hitter Carlos Santana has grown accustomed to changing teams quite a bit during his productive major league career, yet his latest move caught him a little off guard.
The Milwaukee Brewers acquired Santana in a Thursday trade that sent minor league infielder Jhonny Severino to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The move takes Santana from last place to first place in the NL Central.
“A little bit surprised,” Santana said on a conference call. “Most of the time, a team doesn’t try to trade a player to the same division.”
The 37-year-old Santana hit .235 with 12 home runs and 53 RBIs in 94 games for the Pirates, who have fallen off significantly after a fast start. He also leads all major league first basemen with six defensive runs saved, according to FanGraphs.
His career also has included stops in Cleveland, Philadelphia, Kansas City and Seattle.
“We value what he does on both sides of the ball,” Brewers president of baseball operations Matt Arnold said. “That’s kind of been our DNA all year. We talk about adding offense. I think all of us want to try adding a bat, but I think we also don’t want to do it at the expense of our defense. I think that has been a strength of ours. With somebody like Carlos, we feel like we were able to check a lot of boxes there.”
The Brewers lead the NL Central despite ranking just 25th in runs scored, thanks in large part to a lack of production from the first base and designated hitter spots all season.
First baseman Rowdy Tellez is batting .213 with 12 homers – down from 35 last season – and has been on the injured list for the last three weeks. Tellez had 17 stitches removed this week from his left ring finger, which suffered a tuft fracture when it got stuck in the outfield wall while he was shagging fly balls in Cincinnati. Tellez already was on the injured list with right forearm inflammation when he hurt his finger.
The Brewers acquired Jesse Winker from Seattle this offseason with the intention of making him their main designated hitter, but he is batting .199 with only six extra-base hits (five doubles and one homer) in 197 plate appearances. Winker’s prolonged slump has caused his playing time to drop significantly.
Milwaukee’s acquisition of Santana indicates the Brewers’ intention to upgrade their roster this summer as an attempt to atone for last year’s fade.
The Brewers owned a 57-45 record and a three-game lead in the NL Central race last year when they traded four-time All-Star closer Josh Hader to the San Diego Padres, a move that stunned the clubhouse as well as the fan base. The Brewers went 29-31 the rest of the way and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2017.
The Pirates signed Santana to a one-year deal in the offseason, hoping his veteran presence could provide stability to a young roster trying to learn to win. Pittsburgh got off to a 20-8 start, but has stumbled for most of the last three months.
Santana could be the first of several Pirates who could be on the move with a shot at the postseason unlikely. Pitcher Rich Hill, who like Santana signed a one-year deal in the offseason, could be attractive to a contender. The Pirates also have a pair of young All-Stars on the roster in closer David Bednar and pitcher Mitch Keller, both of whom are affordable and under team control, making them a potentially attractive target for teams in the thick of the playoff chase.
The 18-year-old Severino has played 12 games this season in the Brewers’ Rookie-level Arizona Complex League. He has batted .250 with a .289 on-base percentage, four homers, 10 RBIs and five steals while playing both shortstop and third base. The Brewers signed Severino out of the Dominican Republic last year.
“He walks in the door and he looks like somebody who would be a free safety at the University of Alabama,” Arnold said. “He’s that kind of athletic physical specimen. He’s big. Big shoulders. Can barely fit through the door. He runs well. Has a chance to play on the dirt. Has power. All the ingredients of a guy you would hope to get. Honestly, they should be happy with his player. He’s a really interesting prospect. We know he’s far away, but again, we know we have to give up something of quality to access a player like Carlos Santana.”