And That Happened: Thursday's scores and highlights

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Mariners 5, Blue Jays 4: King Felix struck out 11 in eight
innings to notch his 17th win. I was out of town and without a computer
when people started up that “the Mariners can’t sign Felix so the Red Sox are gonna get him” talk
a few days ago. You know what? That’s crazy. Hernandez is one of the
top two or three pitchers in baseball. The Mariners have an entire
corner of the country to themselves. They have Adrian Beltre, Miguel
Batista, Jarrod Washburn, and Erik Bedard coming off the books next
year. They can afford him and if they’re serious about ever winning
anything, they will sign him. This smells like wishful thinking on
behalf of Red Sox fanboys.

Reds 4, Pirates 1: The Pirates have won only three more games
than you this month, and you’re not even trying. And if you were, I’d
bet that more people would show up to watch you than watched this game
too.

Dodgers 7, Nationals 6: The Nats lose number 100. They’re the
first team to do so in back to back seasons since the mid-70s Padres.
Without looking I’m going to guess that the 1930s-40s Phillies have the
record here with five or six if I remember correctly. The Nats won’t
match that. In fact, I think they’re going to look really good in a few
years and all of this will be a distant memory. In the meantime,
though, ugh.

Tigers 6, Indians 5: In nine or ten days someone is going to
have to wake up Eric Wedge and tell him he’s been fired. But let him
rest now. He looks so peaceful.

Athletics 12, Rangers 3: Brett Anderson got a lot of run support
and the A’s beat the Rangers in what seems like the 187th time they’ve
played in the past month.

Red Sox 10, Royals, 3: I guess Clay Buhholz pitched well, but I’m gonna be honest and tell you all that I wasn’t impressed. Really, he reminds me of a right-handed Roger Moret.
Which is more fun: the fact that the Royals committed five errors, or
the fact that Zack Greinke was ejected from the game even though he
wasn’t playing?

Phillies 9, Brewers 4: Happ struck out seven over five and two
thirds. Charlie Manuel: “There’s a chance he could wind up in the back
end of the bullpen if we don’t get something straightened out.”

Padres 5, Rockies 4: The Padres have been a total pain the butt
to just about every contending team this past month. The Rockies have
lost seven of 11 and the Braves are now three and a half back, which
seems way more doable than four for some reason. Especially considering
that Colorado hosts St. Louis this weekend. Go Cards.

Cubs 3, Giants 2: Jeff Baker’s two-out, two-run homer in the top
of the ninth to win the game is going to haunt San Francisco for a
couple of days. San Francisco’s failure to take advantage of the
Rockies’ recent skid is going to haunt them all winter. The Cubs win
means that the Cardinals have to lug their champagne to Colorado.

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.