Major League Baseball
Jacob deGrom, Rangers defeat Grayson Rodriguez, Orioles in prospect's debut
Major League Baseball

Jacob deGrom, Rangers defeat Grayson Rodriguez, Orioles in prospect's debut

Updated Apr. 5, 2023 8:10 p.m. ET

Highly touted Baltimore Orioles pitching prospect Grayson Rodriguez made his MLB debut on Wednesday, but one of MLB's best hurlers helped the Texas Rangers prevail, 5-2.

Jacob deGrom earned his first win with the Rangers, allowing two runs (one earned) on two hits, two walks and 11 strikeouts over six innings. He retired the first 12 batters he faced. Rodriguez didn't have as strong of a performance, though it was plenty good for a debut. The 23-year-old, who is viewed by most analysts as one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, allowed two earned runs on four hits, a walk and five strikeouts over five innings pitched. 

Josh Jung hit a tie-breaking two-run homer soon after deGrom threw his final pitch of the game, giving the two-time NL Cy Young Award winner his first victory in the American League. DeGrom, who signed a five-year, $185 million contract after spending his first nine big-league seasons with the New York Mets, got a no-decision in the season opener, in which he allowed five runs in just 3.2 innings pitched. 


"I wanted to be back out there, and I’m pleased with the performance," deGrom said.

"He was great, wasn’t he? I mean, it’s good to get him a win, too," Rangers manager Bruce Bochy added. "That was Jacob really on top of his game. ... I was looking forward to seeing him back out there just like all of us."

The Rangers' first two runs came in the first inning when Rodriguez allowed back-to-back RBI hits to Adolis García and Jung. Rodriguez settled down after needing 30 pitches to get through the first inning, retiring 13 of the last 15 batters he faced, and struck out All-Star shortstop Corey Seager twice.

"A lot of nerves that first inning, really couldn’t feel the baseball," he said. "The first inning, I kind of felt like I was on an island, but yeah, the second inning was pretty normal."

Following his outing, Rodriguez shared an emotional embrace with his father.

Orioles manager Brandon Hyde had a similar assessment of Rodriguez's first career start as the pitcher did. 

"It was just nerves, honestly, that first inning," Hyde said. "But from the second inning on, the fastball command was a lot better and he wasn’t yanking his slider as much. Just really did a nice job of keeping guys off balance and attacking the strike zone."

The Orioles called up Rodriguez after Kyle Gibson, their scheduled starter for the finale, was moved up a day to pitch Tuesday in place of Tyler Wells, who ended up having to pitch in long relief Monday.

Rodriguez was the 11th overall pick by the Orioles in the 2018 draft out of Central Heights High School in Nacogdoches, Texas, which is about 175 miles from Globe Life Field. He threw 53 of 83 pitches for strikes and walked only one batter.

The Rangers avoided a series sweep and ended its eight-game skid against the Orioles, who were 6-0 against Texas last year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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