And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

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Rockies 12, Cardinals 9: Seth Smith, after the biggest ninth inning comeback in living memory: “Baseball’s crazy, even stupid sometimes . . . I don’t even know what just happened . . . You go from, ‘Let’s not give any at-bats away,’ to ‘Good try,’ to ‘Oh,
wait, we can do this.'”  That kind of surprise and references to freakish, dumb luck was pretty much the order of the day in the clubhouse after the game from both teams. Except Dexter Fowler who, when asked, said that the ninth inning was about “pride.”  Pride?  The problem, Dexter, is if you explain the extraordinary in terms of something you’re capable of simply doing based on will alone, some may ask you why you don’t do it all the time.  Sure, there was pride, but there were also two-dozen other wacky and out-of-your-control occurrences which led to this improbable result.  Don’t give me “pride.”  Own the glorious chaos of it all.

Braves 6, Phillies 3: Matt Diaz hit a tiebreaking double in the 11th inning, and Eric Hinske added
a two-run homer. Cole Hamels pitched well for Philly, but his teammates managed only three hits.  They’ve been boning him like that for his last several starts, actually.

Rays 3, Red Sox 2: Jeff Niemann held the Sox to four hits and an unearned run.  I love the narrative about a bunch of no-names like Eric Patterson and Daniel Nava helping the Sox to a magical resurgence as much as the next guy, but at some point it’s a lot nicer to simply have your big stars healthy and playing, ya know?

Nationals 6, Pirates Padres 5: Ryan Zimmerman hit two bombs.  I’m guessing Joey Votto still wins the silly Internet vote for the last All-Star slot, but that’s some pretty good late campaigning for Zim, no? Game time temperature was 99 degrees.  If my San Diego-living brother is any guide to what people from that town do whenever the weather isn’t a nice, breezy low-humidity 78, the Padres probably wilted and complained and then asked to borrow money from me. Wait, strike that last one, as it’s specific to my brother.

Twins 7, Blue Jays 6: Homers from Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Jason Kubel. Delmon Young went 3 for 3 with an RBI and scored the winning run. Twelfth loss in 15 games for the Jays.

Mets 3, Reds 0: No, he’s not in his prime anymore, but it’s nice to see some vintage Johan Santana once in a while (CG, SHO 3 H).

Tigers 7, Orioles 5: Nice night for Johnny Damon: he got his 2,500th career hit and had a walkoff homer in the
11th. “The ball from my 2,500th hit is going in the trophy case, but No. 2,501
is the one I’m going to remember for a long time.”  I don’t know why I laughed at the idea that Johnny Damon has a trophy case, because he’s an accomplished player who probably has a ton of hardware going back to his little league days. But I just immediately got this image of a bunch of random hilarious things like plaques for judging swimsuit competitions and stuff.

Astros 6, Pirates 2: Wandy Rodriguez strikes out ten Bucs and Carlos Lee and Lance Berkman went yard. This kind of scene is what more or less formed the basis of Ed Wade’s delusions of competitiveness this past offseason.

Rangers 12, Indians 1: Everything in this game was overshadowed by that fan falling from the upper deck. He’s supposedly OK, but given that a spectator died a month after falling out of the stands in Miller Park earlier this year, I’ll wait until the guy in Texas is discharged from the hospital to exhale. As for the game, Josh Hamilton and Vlad Guerrero led the assault. But please, Mr. AP writer: no one cares that Josh Hamilton has a “home hitting streak” of 26 games. Hitting streaks matter. Home and road hitting streaks are silly things to track.

Giants 6, Brewers 1: Madison Bumgarner pitched eight shutout innings to get his first win as a major leaguer. Then his teammates gave him a beer shower despite the fact that he’s only 20.  17 Giants players were arrested to contributing to the delinquency of a minor and Bumgarner was released into the custody of his parents.

White Sox 4, Angels 1: The win, she is nice, but losing Jake Peavy to a back injury — latissimus dorsi is the word on the street — is not good. Peavy had been pretty solid over his last several starts and was one of the many reasons the Sox had gone on the run they’re on.

Cubs 6, Diamondbacks 4: Aramis Ramirez supposedly hurt his hand again the other day, but either that was overstated or else the Diamondbacks were throwing beach balls at him. Two homers for A-Ram, which is a nickname I’m never, ever going to use again for him. Carlos Silva has nine wins before the All-Star Break. I’m not sure if that stat or the fact that Vernon Wells is an All-Star would have elicited greater belly laughs from me if I had been informed of it back in April.

Yankees 6, Athletics 1: Grand slam in the third inning and a solo shot in the sixth for A-Rod.  A-Rod after the game: “I like RBIs because that helps the team win.”  Franklly, I liked it much better when he said egotistical inane things. This seemingly selfless inanity just doesn’t suit him.

Dodgers 7, Marlins 3: Fourth homer in six games for Matt Kemp. Is it possible that, more than the attitude adjustment, Kemp simply needed a couple of days off to rest?  Because since he was benched by Joe Torre last week he’s been on a tear.

Royals 3, Mariners 2: Zach Greinke shuts down the M’s. A fan interference call in the eighth inning may have changed the outcome of the game, though.  Russell Branyan hit a double down the line with Ichiro on first base.  A kid reached out and touched it, though, meaning Ichiro had to stop at third when he would have otherwise scored, trying the game. Jose Lopez then grounded out for out number three.  God, I hate fans. Wouldn’t baseball be better without them?

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.