And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

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Red Sox 7, Tigers 5: You’ve probably seen the Youkilis-Porcello fracas, but here’s video of it from a slightly different angle
which makes Youkilis seem like even more of the bad guy here. Of course
his ejection was the best thing to happen to the Sox last night, as he
was replaced by pinch-runner Mike Lowell, who stayed in the game and
proceeded to hit two homers and drive in three. So yeah, that was all
fun and everything, and it actually worked out for Boston, but can we
all agree that plunkings, retaliation plunkings, retaliation for the
retaliation plunking and all of that is a total drag? It’s the one part
of baseball where Klingon law basically reigns, and I’ll just never get
it. Your guy hits my guy? Who cares? The only reason you’re doing it is
because we’re hitting you hard. That kind of thing doesn’t call for
revenge. It calls for pity.

Indians 5, Rangers 0: Laffey, Smith and Sipp — pitchers, not a
1960s kids show featuring puppets — combine to shutout the Rangers.
The Indians did all of their damage in the third via one of those death
by a thousand cuts kinds of innings:
single-single-HBP-walk-single-double, eventually followed by a
sacrifice fly.

Braves 8, Nationals 1: Tommy Hanson (6.2 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 9K) puts
a stop to the uppity Nats. Every Braves regular had a hit. Leadoff
hitter Ryan Church reached base in four of his five plate appearances.
Sure, he doesn’t get big feature stories like the guy he was traded for
does, but I don’t think anyone cares.

Orioles 3, Athletics 2: Brian Roberts had three hits, an RBI and
two stolen bases as the Os get a rare win over the A’s. Wait. Why does
the apostrophe look right on the “A’s” but not the “Os?” I’d think that
the apostrophe would be improper in both instances given that they’re
abbreviations of plurals as opposed to possessives, but everyone writes
“A’s” don’t they? Did Oakland ever formally change their nickname? When
I was growing up they were almost always referred to as the A’s, but in
recent years you hardly ever see that anymore. Maybe “A’s” was just the
proper noun, apostrophe and all, now it’s not, and we’re just dealing
with vestigial punctuation? Man, what I wouldn’t give to have a
linguistic anthropologist handy right now. Short of that, I’ll settle
for APBA Guy. Got any insight here, dude?

Yankees 7, Blue Jays 5: Hideki Matsui and Jorge Posada hit back-to-back homers leading off the eighth inning to give the Yanks the lead (where have we heard that before?).
There was a moment of silence before the game for Merlyn Mantle, the
widow of Mickey Mantle, who died Monday. There, my friends, was a woman
of serious freakin’ strength, because God love him, but Mickey Mantle
would have driven most women to their graves about 40 years before Mrs.
M. was finally put to rest in hers.

Marlins 9, Astros 8: Game story: “Just before the bottom of the
11th inning, Cody Ross turned to teammate Dan Uggla on the bench and
gave him a few choice words. “This is the inning,” Ross said he told
him. “I feel it. I usually don’t say stuff like that.” Of course the
bases were loaded at the time, so the odds were decidedly in his favor.
Nice game-winning single by Uggla, but I’m not going to give Ross “I
see dead people” kind of credit.

Padres 13, Brewers 6: Adrian Gonzalez went 6 for 6 and the Padres had 22 hits in all off of Braden Looper and six other Brewer pitchers.

Phillies 4, Cubs 3: Brad Lidge blew a 3-2 lead in the ninth, but
Ben Francisco homer in the 12th got him off the hook. Lidge certainly
ain’t right, though. How about this: Jamie Moyer, closer. Or would he complain about that too?

Reds 5, Cardinals 4: Coming off a shutout, Justin Lehr pitches
well again, although this time in much better luck, giving up only one
run in six innings despite allowing 11 hits and only striking out one
dude. Which is why I hate the first sentence of the AP game story:
“Apparently, Justin Lehr is no fluke.” Isn’t he? He’s a 32 year-old
journeyman who isn’t allowing any runs despite not striking anyone out
and has allowed 19 hits and 8 walks in 20 innings. Great results that
still count and everything, but that’s pretty much a textbook example
of fluky.


Royals 14, Twins 6: Demoting a knuckleballer like the Twins did
with R.A. Dickey last week is the same as breaking a mirror or killing
an albatross while crossing the ocean or something: courting doom. How
else to explain a shellacking at the hands of the usually punchless
Royals? Miguel Olivo homered and drove in three runs. The Twins have
lost five of six and eight of 10, and they’re getting beat up at home
on a pretty regular basis.

Pirates 7, Rockies 3: Ugly game for the Rockies, as they walk a
bunch of dudes, commit a bunch of errors, and make the Pirates look
like a good team in the process. Andrew McCutchen stole three bases.

Angels 6, Rays 0: Yesterday I read this story
entitled “The Mighty Fall of Angels Pitcher Ervin Santana.” Ervin
Santana apparently didn’t read it (CG SHO 3 H). David Price didn’t
allow a hit until the fifth, and then the wheels just came off (6 IP, 8
H, 6 ER).

Diamondbacks 6, Mets 2: I think it’s safe to say that we’ve
entered the “playing out the string” portion of the season for New
York. Trent Oeltjen had four more hits, with a triple, a double and a
couple of singles. Crikey.

White Sox 3, Mariners 1: Janks (8 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 8K) and Denks
(23rd save in a perfect ninth) more or less shut down Seattle, but if
it wasn’t for an Alexei Ramirez three-run homer in the ninth, it would
have been in vain. Well, I suppose it could have been a two-run homer.

Dodgers 9, Giants 1: Remember that thing I said on Monday
morning about there maybe being a race on in the NL West? Eh, forget
it. Manny hit a two-run homer, had an RBI double and, working off of
the general “treat Manny like Barry Bonds” vibe, was intentionally
walked twice. Randy Wolf allowed one run and three hits in eight
innings, retiring 16 of his final 19 batters. This allowed Giants fans
to leave early, obviating the need to rush to get to the Larkspur Ferry.

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)
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.