Kendrys Morales, Albert Pujols

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Angels 15, Rangers 8: Kendrys Morales hit homers from each side of the plate in the sixth inning — one of which was a grand slam — and drove in six runs overall as the Angels make mincemeat out of the Rangers. Roy Oswalt got tattooed. Between that, Cliff Lee trade rumors and Roy Halladay’s recent meh outings, it’s not been the best year for the Four Aces.

Cubs 14, Pirates 4: Quite a night for the Cubs. They put up a bunch of crooked numbers against Pittsburgh and unloaded  a bunch of players in deadline deals too. Three RBIs a piece for Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo, so the future is in good shape at least. Four for Darwin Barney. Not sure where he fits.

Braves 8, Marlins 2: That’s six straight wins and — for the first time all year — a Monday win for Atlanta. Indeed, it was the first Monday win since August 22, 2011. Even with this win, the Braves are way back in dead last place in the all-important Monday wins column, which should probably make them Monday sellers at today’s Monday trade deadline.

Red Sox 7, Tigers 3: Dustin Pedroia hit a homer and drove in three. With a ten-game homestand just starting, it’s not unreasonable to say that it’s do or die time for Boston.

Orioles 5, Yankees 4: Nick Markakis went 3 for 4 and drove in a couple. Mark Teixeira left the game after hurting himself diving for a ball, so that’s no good. Eric Chavez and Ichiro went back to back in the seventh inning, but it wasn’t enough. Nice to see the O’s win this one, honestly. Joe Blanton deserves to be on a winning team.

Padres 11, Reds 5: Mike Leake and Alfredo Simon each giving up five runs early put to rest any hope that the Reds would extend that win streak beyond ten games. Will Venable’s bases-clearing triple in the third really blew it open.  Edinson Volquez beats his former team, even if he was pretty ineffective himself in doing so.

Brewers 8, Astros 4: Houston had a 3-0 lead and then, for once, the Brewers got to experience what it felt like on the good side of a bullpen collapse. How novel.

Mets 8, Giants 7: Scott Hairston hit two homers and both were big. One to tie it in the eighth and one to give the Mets a lead in extra innings. There’s been talk of the Mets dealing him by today’s deadline, but no obvious takes yet. If he goes today, let’s pretend that GMs are impressed by shiny things like two home run-games.

Mariners 4, Blue Jays 1: Hisashi Iwakuma struck out 13 while giving up one run over eight innings. Much needed on a night when the M’s bullpen was depleted due to trades of Brandon League and Tom Wilhelmsen Steve Delabar. Um, sorry about that. Trade deadline has my brain all addled.

Diamondbacks 7, Dodgers 2: Welcome to the Diamondbacks, Chris Johnson. The newest snake hit a grand slam. And he was also surprised at playoff talk:

“One of the guys on the bench said, ‘Anybody know what the Giants did tonight?’ And that kind of shocked me, because I’m not really used to that,” Johnson said.

That’s the cutest thing ever.

Athletics 4, Rays 3: Strikeouts are boring. Besides, they’re fascist. And they’re not even a guarantee of winning. The Rays struck out 21 A’s batters, but still lost when Jemile Weeks — who was 0-for-7 with two strikeouts at the time — ended the game with a sac fly in the bottom of the 15th.  OK, just to be clear: if you strike out 21, you usually win that game.

Twins 7, White Sox 6: Break up the Twins! Four straight wins. Next up: former mate Francisco Liriano debuts against them tonight. That should be fun.

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.