Norichika Aoki

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Brewers 4, Cubs 3: Norichika Aoki hit two homers including the walkoff. Overall, he’s kicking some major butt.

Mets 3, Nationals 1: As I said yesterday: Dickey beats Wang. I’m still giggling, by the way.

Pirates 5, Reds 4: Aroldis Chapman finally allowed a run. You see? You see? He’s not a machinehe’s a manhe’s a man!  Someone alert the authorities. Wait, don’t do that. Chapman doesn’t need anymore interaction with the authorities.  It was a an RBI double by Michael McKenry in the 10th which proved to be the game winner.

Giants 8, Padres 3: The Giants stay hot, winning their ninth in 11 tries. Matt Cain struck out nine and withstood some awful San Francisco defense to win his sixth straight start.

Dodgers 8, Phillies 3: The sweep. Aaron Harang won his 100th. And Charlie Manuel is losin’ it:

Asked about his frustration level, manager Charlie Manuel said: “I never put it up to a level. I just feel how hot my face gets.” And it is, he said, “pretty damn hot.”

Nightmare season for Philly thus far.

Red Sox 7, Orioles 0: The Sox finally beat the O’s at home. And do it in impressive fashion. Clay Buchholz with the four-hit shutout.

Athletics 7, Rangers 1: Yu Darvish gets shelled by one of the worst offenses in baseball and walks six on top of that. Brandon McCarthy, meanwhile, allows one run in seven innings. Coco Crisp had a triple a homer and drove in four. The A’s took three of four from Texas, which according to the Rangers fans I follow on Twitter has caused some Texas fans to freak out and think about trading everyone.

Tigers 7, Indians 5: Casey Crosby won his first ever game. Not that it came easy. Detroit was up 7-1 and the Indians started to rally to close it to 7-5 and had the bases loaded in the eighth but couldn’t get one more hit that they needed. It was the first win by the Tigers over the Indians in six tries.

Braves 8, Marlins 2: Jason Heyward had two homers in a game for the first time since 2010 and Mike Minor finally had an effective outing, allowing one run in five innings. The Braves scored all of their runs from the sixth inning on. It was a 4-1 road trip for the Braves and now they get nine straight at home.

Rays 7, Yankees 3: David Price only went five innings but he survived them well, striking out eight and getting out of a one-out bases loaded jam in the fifth by retiring Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano.  CC Sabathia struck out 12 over seven innings in a losing effort.

White Sox 4, Blue Jays 3: Orlando Hudson singled in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth. Alex Rios drove in three.

Cardinals 14 vs. Astros 2: Two homers and six RBI for David Freese as Lance Lynn joins R.A. Dickey with nine wins. Just as everyone predicted would be the case before the season began.

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.