Jered Weaver

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Tigers 3, Angels 2: Wow, this was a wild one. Made all the more wild by the fact that (a) it was going on just as the trade deadline was approaching; and (b) since Justin Verlander had a no-hitter going, it seemed like everyone was watching it. At least everyone in my little corner of the Internet.  Read the game stories to get the full flavor, but any game that has home run poses (Carlos Guillen), headhunting (Jered Weaver on Alex Avila), a starting pitcher yelling eff you at an ump right after the ejection (Weaver again) and then eleventeen violations of the unwritten rules (Erik Aybar laying down a bunt to try to break up the no-no), all in the space of a about a half hour, you know it was an awesome game.

Reds 9, Giants 0: Just when you want to write the Reds off they go and sweep the reigning champs. Of course, Barry Zito started this one for San Francisco, and he wasn’t even on the roster when they won the World Series, so let’s not go too crazy.  Johnny Cueto was fantastic, pitching a three-hitter and lowering his ERA to 1.72.  Three-run homer for Joey Votto who had five RBI on the day.

Phillies 6, Pirates 5: Remember how I mentioned that the schedule was about to get tough for Pittsburgh and that the fairytale was about to end? This is what I was talking about. Philly sweeps.  New hire Hunter Pence doubled in the tenth inning and was then doubled in for the winning run by Raul Ibanez, who had himself a whale of a day, homering twice and hitting the game-winner.  Don’t worry, though, Pirates fans: Joel Hanrahan is well-rested, not having been bothered during the 10th inning. You’ll be happy to know that he will be available to “save” meaningless games against the Astros in August and September.

Yankees 4, Orioles 2: The big hit was Brett Gardner’s bases-loaded triple in the fourth, when the Yankees scored all of their runs. Freddy Garcia won his tenth, striking out six in six innings and allowing two runs on five hits.  The Yankees made no trade deadline moves. But really, there wasn’t a good move out there for them to make.

Brewers 5, Astros 4: The Astros get swept. Not surprising given that (a) they were on a 109-loss pace when the weekend began; and (b) they then traded their two best players over the weekend.  Good times in Houston!

Blue Jays 7, Rangers 3: Brandon Morrow struck out 11. Koji Uehara made his Rangers debut and, during the game, Texas traded for Mike Adams.  But as this game shows, your bullpen can’t do it all for you. C.J. Wilson got rocked.

Nationals 3, Mets 2: The Nats take two of three, winning this one on a Ian Desmond chopper in the bottom of the ninth.  There wouldn’t have been a bottom of the ninth if Drew Storen had protected the ninth inning lead.  But he won the game, so he must have been doing something valuable, right?

Marlins 3, Braves 1:  The 10,000th loss in Braves franchise history! Woo!  Who cares? Michael Bourn will join the team later today, and all will be right with the world. Or so I’m telling myself.

Royals 5, Indians 3: Homers from Jeff Francoeur and Alex Gordon and a solid outing from Danny Duffy.  Going forward, though, this will be a different Indians team thanks to the additions of Ubaldo Jimenez and Ryan Ludwick.

Red Sox 5, White Sox 3: Andrew Miller was eminently hittable — he gave up ten in five and two-thirds — but Dustin Pedroia bailed him out with a go-ahead two-run single in the seventh. Adrian Gonzalez had an RBI double in the ninth for some insurance.

Padres 8, Rockies 3: A six-run eighth wraps this one up for the Padres, averting a sweep. Three RBI for Jesus Guzman.

Athletics 7, Twins 3: I guess six-run innings are the new inefficiency, because the A’s pulled one off too. Three stolen bases for Coco Crisp. Home run 597 for Jim Thome.

Rays 8, Mariners 1: Ben Zobrist went 3 for 5 with 3 RBI and Jeremy Hellickson held the Mariners to basically bupkis.

Diamondbacks 6, Dodgers 3: Two homers for Gerardo Parra. And no, I’m not above hackey crap like thinking of this every time I hear his name.

Cubs 6, Cardinals 3: Jake Westbrook looked good until the sixth, when he gave up four runs. A three-run homer from Lance Berkman was all the Cards could muster.

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.