And That Happened: Thursday's scores and highlights

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ortiz.jpgRed Sox 8, Athletics 5: Before the game Ortiz said this:

Today I was informed by a reporter that I was on the 2003 list of MLB players to test positive for performance-enhancing substances. This happened right before our game, and the news blindsided me. I said I had no comment because I wanted to get to the bottom of this.

The judges would have preferred the Costanza-esque “Was that wrong? Should I not have done that?” but they will accept the O.J.-esque “I’m going to search for the real killers” response as well. Either way, he wasn’t so blindsided that it took him off his game, as his three run homer in the seventh put the Sox up for good.

Mets 7, Rockies 0; Rockies 4, Mets 2: Santana was fantastic in the first game (7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER 8K). Omir Santos caught the second game despite the fact that his wife gave birth earlier in the day. When my wife gave birth the only place I was allowed to go was to the room across the hallway where they kept the ice. Good for Omir for having his priorities in order. Kids are born every day. Twin-bills are rare.

Cubs 12, Astros 3: That’s 30 runs in three games for the Cubbies. Kevin Hart got the win and then was traded to Pittsburgh as soon as it was over. I’m pretty sure that Pittsburgh has been involved in every trade that has been made for the past week. Query: if they have so much desirable talent, why they hell do they suck so bad?

Orioles 7, Royals 3: Brad Bergesen gave up one run on seven hits in seven innings and got the win, but not before being knocked out of the game when a liner off the bat of Billy Butler smacked him in the shin. “The pain was bad. I wanted to throw up,” Bergesen said. Tonight, as he elevates and ices the leg, he’ll be updating this seemingly dormant web page.

Brewers 7, Nats 3: The Brewers win back-to-back games for the first time in a month. Yovani Gallardo allowed five hits and three runs while striking out 11 and walking nary a Nat.

Padres 7, Reds 4: Remember in spring training when some folks were picking Cincy as their dark horse contender? Nah, me neither. The Reds have dropped six of seven the Padres this season, which is as close to pathetic as you can get. Game story: “Outfielder Wladimir Balentien, acquired Wednesday by the Reds from Seattle for right-hander Robert Manuel, arrived in Cincinnati early Thursday morning and was in uniform.” Early morning? Must have taken the Red eye. Get it? RED eye! Because he’s joining the REDS! Ha! Um, er. Yeah.



Rangers 7, Mariners 1: Newark, Ohio’s own Derek Holland had a
shutout into the ninth, striking out ten Mariners and giving up only
two hits. It may have been better, though, if he had given up a run
earlier, because maybe then Ron Washington wouldn’t have left the 22
year-old in for 118 pitches on a 90 degree night.

Braves 6, Marlins 3: Brian McCann with the three run dinger in
the 10th! (I can use exclamation points there, because he plays for my
favorite team; were it the Cubs or something, I would have used a
period or would have written some dependent clause set off by dashes —
like this — in order to tone it down a bit. But go Braves! Nice to
salvage one!!!

Giants 7, Phillies 2: Rodrigo Lopez gave up eight hits and seven
runs — only three earned — in four innings, mostly due to a Pedro
Feliz error. Feliz used to play for the Giants. According to the game
story, Ryan Garko was asked to provide information on Friday’s starter
— Cliff Lee — to the Giants, because Lee and Garko used to play for
the Indians. Basically, no one can trust anyone in this series, and
death and betrayal lie around every corner.

Dodgers 5, Cardinals 3: Guess what: Todd Wellemeyer doesn’t work
in relief either! To be fair, he didn’t cause the 10th inning jam —
that was Dennys Reyes’ doing — but he did come in and give up the
game-losing single, and I’m not sure why Tony La Russa decided that
runners on second and third in the 10th inning was the best spot in
which to launch Wellemeyer’s bullpen career.

White Sox 3, Yankees 2: If you lived in outer space and just
came to Earth to visit on Thursdays, you might come away with the
impression that DeWayne Wise was actually good, what with the big catch
in Buehrle’s perfecto last week and hit the walkoff RBI single last
night. Hmm, maybe I won’t go back to outer space. Mars ain’t the kind
of place to raise my kids. In fact it’s cold as hell.

Yordano Ventura and Jose Fernandez were two of the most promising arms in MLB

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 3: Starting pitcher Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals throws a pitch in the first inning during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on July 3, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
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Baseball lost two incredible pitchers in the last four months, both to horrible and unforeseen tragedies. Jose Fernandez and Yordano Ventura were among the most talented and promising pitchers in MLB, two young arms that drew both accolades and criticism for their performance on the mound.

Ventura signed with the Royals in 2008, blazing through several tiers of their farm system before he was called up to replace an injured Danny Duffy in late 2013. He secured his rotation spot the following spring and finished a solid 2014 campaign with a 14-10 record, 3.20 ERA and 2.4 fWAR in 32 starts for the club. During the Royals’ World Series run later that year, Ventura dedicated his performance in Game 6 to Cardinals’ prospect Oscar Taveras, who was killed in a car accident in the Dominican Republic just two days earlier.

In four years with the Royals, Ventura pitched to a 38-31 record, 3.89 ERA and 6.5 fWAR. While his command and overall production rate waned, bottoming out in 2016 with a 4.45 ERA and 1.85 SO/BB rate, his dynamic pitch repertoire still kept him front and center in the Royals’ pitching staff. He brandished an electric fastball that, at its lowest point, hovered around 96.6 m.p.h. and, at its best, topped out around 102.6 m.p.h.

Like Ventura, Fernandez made an instant impression in the major league circuit. He earned Rookie of the Year distinctions in 2013 after delivering a 12-6 record, 2.19 ERA and 4.1 fWAR with the Marlins. Despite undergoing Tommy John surgery in his sophomore year, he recovered to take on a full workload in 2016 and stunned the league with a 16-8 record, 2.89 ERA, career-high 253 strikeouts and 6.1 fWAR.

Ventura developed a reputation for brushing back hitters, which escalated in some cases to volatile bench-clearing brawls. In 2015, he was ejected for three altercations in three consecutive games and served a seven-game suspension. Halfway through the 2016 season, he earned another eight-game suspension after plunking the Orioles’ Manny Machado in the back with a 99 m.p.h. heater. Some speculated that his aggressive behavior on the mound was excused — or, at least, made more palatable — by his talent and track record, while others called for a more heavy-handed approach from the league.

Fernandez, too, found himself at the center of speculation after reports emerged that painted the 24-year-old as a “clubhouse difficulty,” citing attitude problems that damaged relationships between the pitcher and Marlins players and staff. On the field, he was occasionally chastised for failing to adhere to some of baseball’s unwritten rules, most notably when he showed his elation after hitting his first career home run off of the Braves’ Mike Minor in 2013.

It’s impossible to predict where Fernandez and Ventura’s careers would have taken them. We mourn them not for their actions on the mound or their potential as star pitchers, however, but for their inherent value as people who were loved and respected by their families and teams. Major League Baseball will be worse off for their loss.

Yordano Ventura killed in an auto accident

CLEVELAND, OH -  JUNE 2:  Starting pitcher Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals jokes with teammates as he walks off the field after the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on June 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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UPDATE, 12:07 p.m. EDT: The Royals have confirmed reports of Yordano Ventura’s death with an official statement. No further details pertaining to the accident have been divulged.

Terrible, terrible news: Christian Moreno of ESPN reports that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura has been killed in an automobile accident in the Dominican Republic. His death has been confirmed by police. He was only 25 years-old. There are as of yet no details about the accident.

Ventura was a four-year veteran, having debuted in 2013 but truly bursting onto the scene for the Royals in 2014. That year he went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA in 183 innings, ascending to the national stage along with the entire Royals team with some key performances in that year’s ALDS and World Series. The following year Ventura won 13 games for the World Champion Royals and again appeared in the playoffs and World Series.

Ventura was often in the middle of controversy — he found himself in several controversies arising out of his habit of hitting and brushing back hitters — but he was an undeniably electric young talent who was poised to anchor the Royals rotation for years to come. His loss, like that of Jose Fernandez just this past September, is incalculable to both his team, his fans and to Major League Baseball as a whole.

Our thoughts go out to his family, his friends, his teammates and his fans.