Arizona Diamondbacks v Philadelphia Phillies

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Diamondbacks 3, Phillies 2: Roy Halladay struck out 14 and pitched a complete game but lost all the same. Guess he just doesn’t know how to win, huh?  Lyle Overbay knocked in all three of the Snakes’ runs, including a two-run double which ended up winning it in the ninth.

Astros 6, Cubs 5: Where in the hell did that come from? It was 5-2 in the ninth and I was just about ready to write that the Astros may not win 50 games this year, when all of a sudden something called a Brian Bogusevic hits a walkoff grand slam off Carlos Marmol. I mean, sure, Marmol has had his share of meltdowns this year, but since when do the Astros have any late game moxie? Oh, and they still may not win 50 games this year, but given this dramatic win, it would be rude to point that out in this recap.

Braves 2, Giants 1: Whichever San Francisco Giants employee built their house on that ancient Indian burial ground, can you please tear it down? On a day when practically everyone who has ever worn a Giants uniform dating back to Billy O’Dell was placed on the disabled list or otherwise injured, starter Jonathan Sanchez had to leave the game early with a sprained ankle. That the Braves won it on an 11th inning single was probably a blessing for Bruce Bochy, who no doubt was convinced by then that he’d lose a player to Cotard’s Syndrome or something. As it is, he probably has a case of Trichotillomania by now.

Athletics 8, Orioles 4: Read the box score if you want to know what happened in the game. For now, I’m mostly interested in the AP recap. For the second day in a row (here’s yesterday’s), the guy writing the O’s-A’s recap has gone with a pitcher talking about his cut fastball as the centerpiece. Coincidence? Possibly. Maybe that’s just what the player decided to talk about in the clubhouse afterward. But part of me thinks that we have a cutter obsessive on our hands, lurking in west coast ballparks, armed with a press pass and his monomania. But what does he want? WHAT DOES HE WANT?!

Rangers 7, Angels 3:  [As the Angels join hands to sing]: I was born here and I’ll die here against my will. I know it looks like I’m moving, but I’m standing still. Every nerve in my body is so vacant and numb. I can’t even remember what it was I came here to get away from. Don’t even hear a murmur of a prayer. It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there.

Red Sox 3, Rays 1; Rays 6, Red Sox 2:  I hit the first game up in a post yesterday. As for the second, one day after I mentioned that I like the bang-bang-bang triple plays, the Red Sox turned one. What kind of sorcery is this, and can I learn to use it on demand?

Tigers 7, Twins 1: Justin Verlander cruises, as usual. I know wins aren’t everything, but the guy is on pace for something like 24 wins right now, and that kind of total doesn’t happen much these days. There’s a righteous argument for him to win the Cy Young on the real merits anyway, but if he snags 24 wins, it’s probably unanimous because it’s the kind of thing on which everyone can agree.

Pirates 5, Cardinals 4: Walkoff homer for Garrett Jones in the 11th. I have no idea how this happened. I mean, Tony La Russa had his ancient lefty specialist in to face the lefty Jones, and the gods who gave La Russa was all of his baseball wisdom proclaimed that such a strategy never fails. I saw it written in flaming letters on the side of a granite cliff. I swear.

Brewers 2, Dodgers 1: As the Cardinals lose, Milwaukee improves to 12-2 in August thanks to Mark Kotsay’s RBI single to end it in the ninth. They now have a seven game lead in the division. That’s only a half game worse than Philly’s lead in the East, which is the biggest in baseball.

Nationals 6, Reds 4:  I can’t tell you how disappointed I am that, both times recently when I remembered that Wang was pitching, he won.  Because I have a clever little phrase I want to use that I’m sure no one has ever thought of before in the event that someone beats Wang.

Padres 6, Mets 1: Like the Cubs, the Padres are putting it together too late for it to matter. But hey, at least they’re putting it together. How together? San Diego leads all of baseball in runs scored since the All-Star break. Yeah, that’s a bit of a shocker.  Fifteen hits last night, including two triples for Nick Hundley.

Blue Jays 13, Mariners 7: They Jays jumped out to a six-run lead, blew it, and then went on to win by six anyway. It’s like they have a crate of six-run leads in the clubhouse that they can just use whenever.

Marlins 6, Rockies 5: Eight strong innings from Anibal Sanchez to give him his first win in over two months. It was almost deja vu for Florida, though, as the Rockies mounted a ninth inning rally. It fell short, of course. If it hadn’t, I would have written the score differently.

Yankees 9, Royals 7:  Ivan Nova gave up seven runs on nine hits in five and a third. But he got the win, so by definition, that makes him better than Roy Halladay.

White Sox 8, Indians 7:  A wild one. The wildest part: Juan Pierre, offensive hero. A homer in the fourth — only his 16th in his whole long career — and the walkoff single in the 14th.  Also wild: the Sox had five triples. Also wild: the Indians had the bases loaded with one out in the 13th but couldn’t get it done. A five-hour+ game.

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.