And That Happened: Thursday's scores and highlights

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Royals 9, Tigers 2: Five shutout innings by Greinke lowers his
ERA to 2.14. No starter has been that low to finish the season since
Clemens in 2005. No non-jackass starter has had one that low since
Pedro in 2000. Allow me to echo Aaron in asking for someone to please explain to me again the basis for not
giving this man the Cy Young award.

Brewers 7, Cubs 4: Prince Fielder hit a triple to lead off the fifth. I’m as shocked as you are, but it’s not like this sort of thing wasn’t predicted. Note: scroll down to read the lefthand column before reading the portion that appears at the top of the page.

Reds 3, Marlins 2: A first inning Darnell McDonald homer and a
bases loaded single by Jay Bruce held up all night. Random game story
goodness: “Reds RHP Aaron Harang bought a souped-up golf cart as a gift
to clubhouse attendants, to help them transport equipment and players
around the ballpark.” I’m not sure why Bob isn’t impressed with this. Word on the street is that it’s got a cop motor,
a 440 cubic inch plant, it’s got cop tires, cop suspensions, cop shocks
and it’s a model made before catalytic converters so it’ll run good on
regular gas.

Angels 4, Red Sox 3: Brian Fuentes bounces back and holds the
lead in the ninth after his compadres break a tie in the top of the
ninth. I guess the umps were timid or scared last night like they were
on Wednesday.

Rays 3, Orioles 0: Wade Davis was destroyed by the Red Sox in
his second career start, but dismantled Baltimore in his third (CG SHO
4 H 10K). He three 124 pitches, but struck out the side in the ninth,
so either he wasn’t tired of the Orioles gave the hell up.

Phillies 4, Nationals 2: Cole Hamels was perfect into the sixth
inning and finished with ten strikeouts and one earned run over eight
innings. Manuel allowed Lidge to pitch in a save situation. He got the
save, but still gave up a run on a triple and a fielder’s choice. If
the Phillies bats are alive in the playoffs they’re my choice to win
the NL. If they play a lot of close games that are decided late, well,
forget it.

Mariners 4, White Sox 3: Jon Danks only gave up one run over
eight innings, but ended up getting hosed out of the win after this
baby went 14. A 14 inning game, by the way, that was eight minutes
shorter than Wednesday night’s nine-inning Red Sox-Angels affair.

Braves 7, Mets 3: The Braves have won seven straight. The Mets
have lost nine of their last 10. These are things that will keep me
warm all winter even in the very likely event that the Braves fall
short of the playoffs.

Athletics 5, Indians 2: “We’re going through a tough stretch
right now,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said after the game. We know. It
began in early April.

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.