And That Happened: Monday's scores and highlights

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A very grand-slammy day around the Majors . . .

Nationals 14, Brewers 6: Josh Willingham with two grand slams
and eight RBI. I think that’s more production than his trade
counterpart Emilio Bonifacio has had all season.

Mets 7, Rockies 3: An eighth inning pinch hit grand slam by Fernando Tatis puts a happy ending on what was an otherwise horrible day in Metsville.
After the game, Omar Minaya raged at a press conference about how he
can no longer sit back and allow reporter infiltration, reporter
indoctrination, reporter subversion and the international reporter
conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

Cubs 5, Astros 1: Tie game, bases loaded in the bottom of the
ninth! Lou Piniella calls for the suicide squeeze! Mike Fontenot know
what to do: Contact, baby! Do anything, put it anywhere, but JUST DON’T
MISS THE BALL! Oops, he missed the ball and the runner was tagged out.
On to extra innings, where, thankfully for Fontenot’s sake, the Cubbies
broke out in the 13th inning, via — you guessed it — a game-winning
grand slam, this one off the bat of Alfonso Soriano.

Indians 9, Angels 8: A rare bifurcated grand slam won this one,
with Victor Martinez hitting a three run home run followed immediately
by Jhonny Peralta hitting a solo-shot in the ninth inning. Shut up, it
does too count. I’m trying to keep a theme going here.

Yankees 11, Rays 4: It was A-Rod’s birthday yesterday, and if he wanted to, he and his lady friend Kate Hudson could have joined the party and gotten a free grand slam.
Since it’s Rodriguez, though, they probably just tried to go to Chi
Chi’s to get free nachos and a Polaroid picture wearing that birthday
sombrero they give out. Then they probably were crestfallen when they
found out that (a) Chi Chi’s went out of business five years ago; and
(b) that there aren’t any Polaroids around anymore either. So instead
they just went out to some fabulous restaurant and took turns telling
one another how rich and beautiful they are. Wait, where was I going
with this?

Reds 6, Padres 4: Given how totally each of these teams have
fallen apart recently, this was more like rummage sale than a ballgame.
Scouts sat behind home plate like Luke and Uncle Owen pickin’ out
droids. Based on reports, someone’s got their eyes set on this Red one, but they should be warned: he probably has a bad motivator.

Red Sox 8, A’s 3: Every Red Sox batter got a hit which, if
you’re a connoisseur of box scores, is kind of satisfying to see on an
aesthetic level. 10Ks for Beckett.

Royals 5, Orioles 3: Billy Butler went 5 for 5 and Bruce Chen
wasn’t an unmitigated disaster for once. Interesting — and deceiving
— to see that the Royals are only three games worse than the Orioles
are this year. I bet Dayton Moore walks around the office complaining
about how unfair it is for those in the know to talk about Baltimore’s
future and promise while all they do is criticize the Royals.

Twins 4, White Sox 3: Errors were the difference here, as Jayson Nix and Paul Konerko each committed an error in the second which led to Twins runs.

Rangers 5, Tigers 2: Yet another solid start from Tommy Hunter
(7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER). I don’t know anything about him and I haven’t seen
him pitch yet. Royce — anyone — is he any good, or is this a fluke?

Cardinals 6, Dodgers 1: Chris Carpenter finishes July 4-0 by
beating L.A. in a manner that compels me to use the term “scattered” (7
IP, 9 H, 1 ER). Not to be confused with scattered, smothered, and covered
(sorry, that breakfast reference in the Yankees recap has me hungry).
Anyway, in his first four games with St. Louis, Matt Holliday is
8-for-14 with four RBIs. In his last seven games, Mark DeRosa has five
homers. I’d say at this point that the midseason deals are paying off
for St. Louis.

Phillies 6, Diamondbacks 2: Jamie Moyer, who I am contractually
obligated to refer to as “crafty” (though “wily” will also be
accepted), baffled the Dbacks with his stunning array of dusty junk,
allowing bubkis over six innings. The Phillies now have a seven game
lead in the East.

Blue Jays 11, Mariners 4: All hits are not created equal.
Toronto only has three more of them than the Ms, but they scored seven
more runs, knocking King Felix around in what amounts to his worst
start in a couple of years, and preventing him from getting what would
have been his 12th win.

Giants 4, Pirates 2: Lincecumazing! OK, I’ll cut that out now.
But he really was, tossing a complete game, giving up no earned runs,
and striking out 15 Pirates. His game score of 87 is the ninth best of
any starter’s performance this season. Though it’s worth noting that I
don’t believe in game scores. I just believe in me. Yoko and me. And
that’s reality.

Yordano Ventura represented the best and worst of baseball’s culture

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 28:  Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers in the first inning during a game against the Boston Red Sox on August 28, 2016 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Adam Glanzman/Getty Images
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It was reported this morning that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura was killed in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. Former prospect Andy Marte was also killed in a separate car accident. Along with Jose Fernandez and Oscar Taveras, the baseball world has lost a lot of young, exciting talent in a very short amount of time.

Ventura was, like all of us, a complex human being. At his best, he was an exciting, talented, emotive pitcher who featured an electric fastball which sat in the mid-90’s and occasionally touched 100 MPH. At his worst, he was an immature, impressionable kid trying to fit in by exacting revenge against batters he felt had wronged him by slinging those electric fastballs at vulnerable areas of their bodies.

Baseball needed Ventura when he was at his best. It is players like him and Fernandez, not Mike Trout, that bring in new fans to the sport. To baseball die-hards, Angels outfielder Mike Trout is the pinnacle of entertainment because we know he’s an otherworldly talent. But to the average fan, Trout is just another player who hits a couple of homers and doesn’t do anything particularly interesting otherwise. Trout is milquetoast. Ventura was never an All-Star, but fans knew who he was because he made his presence felt every time he made a start. He was fun, if sometimes vengeful.

Ventura’s baseball rap sheet is rather lengthy for someone who only pitched parts of four seasons in the big leagues. Early in the 2015 season, Ventura found himself in a handful of benches-clearing incidents in quick succession. On April 12, he jawed with Trout, apparently misunderstanding the motivation behind Trout yelling, “Let’s go!” Though catcher Salvador Perez intervened, Trout’s teammate Albert Pujols ran in from second base and the benches cleared shortly thereafter. On the 18th, some drama between the Athletics and Royals continued. Ventura fired a 99 MPH fastball at Brett Lawrie, resulting in his immediate ejection from the game. More beanball wars ensued in the series finale the following day. Finally, on the 23rd, Ventura hit White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu with a 99 MPH fastball in the fourth inning. Ventura was not ejected… until after the completion of the seventh inning. Walking back to the dugout, Ventura barked at White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton and — you guessed it — the benches cleared. All told, Ventura was fined for his behavior with the Athletics and suspended seven games for the White Sox incident.

In August 2015, Ventura called Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista a “nobody” and accused him of stealing signs. He apologized shortly thereafter. Two months later, during his start in Game 6 of the ALCS against the Blue Jays, Ventura got into it with Jays first base coach Tim Leiper. Nothing happened beyond that, but apparently it was part of the Jays’ plan to try to put Ventura “on tilt.”

Most recently, in June this past season, Ventura hit Orioles third baseman Manny Machado with a pitch. Machado charged the mound and got in at least one punch before the players spilled out onto the field in a blob of royal blue and orange. Ventura was suspended for eight games.

Ventura was by no means a model of civility, but he was a product of baseball’s intransigent culture forcing players to assimilate or be ostracized. The old culture taught players to never show emotion. Hit a home run? Put your head down and circle the bases in a timely fashion or risk taking a fastball to the ribs. Players like Fernandez and Bautista — typically players from Latin countries — challenged those old cultural norms and are, as a result, the vanguard of the new culture. Ventura displayed aspects of each, the worst of the old culture and the best of the new. He was not a one-dimensional person; he was strikingly complex. At one moment willing to use a fastball as a weapon, the next stopping by some kids’ lemonade stand and giving out fist bumps. Baseball is made more entertaining and more interesting by its personalities and Ventura’s was a behemoth, for better or worse. His absence from the sport will be felt.

MLB remembers Yordano Ventura and Andy Marte

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 28:  Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers in the first inning during a game against the Boston Red Sox on August 28, 2016 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
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Following the tragic passing of 25-year-old Yordano Ventura and 33-year-old Andy Marte, both of whom were killed in separate car crashes on Sunday morning, players and executives from around Major League Baseball expressed an outpouring of grief and support for the players’ families and former teams.

Fans have gathered at Kauffman Stadium in memory of the former pitcher.