Twins' Thome watches his home-run hit against the Tigers, giving him 600 career home-runs, during their MLB American League baseball game in Detroit

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Twins 9, Tigers 6: Congratulations Jim Thome on home run number 599 and, the very next at bat, home run number 600.  For the record, his first one came against Steve Farr on October 4, 1991. I was a freshman in college and had a lush head of hair at the time. George H.W. Bush was the president. The number one song in the country was “I Adore Mi Amor” by Color Me Badd. In the lineup for the opposing Yankees — managed by Stump Merrill — was Steve Sax, Don Mattingly, and Mel Hall.

Braves 5, Giants 4: Gimme an F! Gimme an F! What’s that stand for? Well, if you’re Brian Wilson, it stands for FFUUUUUUUU….  If you’re a Braves fan, it stands for Freddie Freeman, who hit the game winning single off Wilson on a 3-2 count with two outs, the bases loaded and the Bravos trailing 4-3.  Freeman, by the way, had just turned two when Thome hit that first homer.

Pirates 6, Cardinals 2: Ryan Doumit was 4 for 4 with a three-run homer that ended up being the game winner.

Brewers 3, Dodgers 0: Randy Wolf shut out the Dodgers for eight innings. The Brewers turned a triple play in the third inning. And it was a pretty nifty one. Not as good as a 5-4-3 bang-bang-banger, and maybe a product of a bad baserunning play by Matt Kemp trying to go home, but still solid. Definitely not one of those boring “the second baseman caught a line drive and everyone stood around wondering what was going on while he tagged anyone he could find” kind of things.

Rangers 8, Angels 4: Texas extends its lead to five games. If the Angels don’t get to work here, this could be their last meaningful series.  You hear that Mr. Anaheim? That is the sound of inevitability… It is the sound of your death… Goodbye, Mr. Anaheim.

Mets 5, Padres 4: Jim Thome wasn’t the only guy hitting a big round number last night. Jason Isringhausen saved his 300th game. Isringhausen admitted after the game that getting his 300th save was the reason he came back after a nearly two-year layoff. You don’t hear guys being that honest about milestones very often.

Rockies 7, Marlins 4: Freddie Freeman wasn’t the only guy getting a walkoff hit after a big ninth inning rally last night. Jason Giambi hit a walkoff homer — a three-run job — to turn a tie game into a 7-4 win. Before he did it, Carlos Gonzalez had tied it up with an RBI double.

Mariners 6, Blue Jays 5: Two homers for Mike Carp, who happens to lead the majors in RBI for the month of August. Bet you didn’t know that.

Orioles 6, Athletics 2: Tommy Hunter let a load of guys on base and was pitching out of trouble, but he kept things afloat and the O’s win the first game of a ten-game road trip. That’s two in a row for Baltimore, by the way, so break out the champagne and ticker tape.

Yankees 7, Royals 4: A.J. Burnett pitches into the sixth inning and gets a win. Of course, based on my Yankee-fan-filled Twitter timeline as the game was going on, it wasn’t as if it was an exercise in confidence building, what with all of the hits he gave up.  Better than nothin’, I guess. Jeter went 3-for-4 with three RBI.

Cubs 4, Astros 3: Geovany Soto had three hits and drove in two. The Cubs have won 12 of 15.

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)
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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.