St. Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

49 Comments

Cardinals 11, Reds 4: I’ll take “Improbable scores for an extra-inning game for $200, Alex.” It was already 7-4 in the top of the 10th when Matt Holliday came to the plate but he hit a grand slam off Curtis Partch to truly ice the game. J.J. Hoover was charged with six of the seven runs scored by St. Louis that inning. I wonder if anyone in Cincinnati can think of clever and/or crude ways to describe Hoover’s performance in this one that incorporate his name somehow.

Rangers 6, Blue Jays 4: The Rangers avoid a sweep and move back into first place by a half game. Homers from Adrian Beltre, Nelson Cruz and David Murphy.

Tigers 4, Indians 1: Jose Alvarez makes his MLB debut in a spot start, allows one run in six innings, gets the W and is sent back down. Such is life when you play for a veteran-laden, first place team. Don Kelly hit a three-run homer to break the 1-1 tie in the sixth.

Marlins 8, Mets 4: The Marlins have 18 wins. Eight of them have come against the Mets. The Mets made news after this one by sending down a few players and calling up a few in their place. Thing is, there are still a bunch of minor leaguers in talent and essence on this club.

Nationals 7, Twins 0; Nationals 5, Twins 4: Jordan Zimmermann tossed seven two-hit shutout innings in game one while Anthony Rendon doubled in two and singled in ones. In the nightcap it was the bullpen that did the heavy lifting as Nathan Karns didn’t have much but the pen held the Twins scoreless for the final six innings.

Red Sox 10, Angels 5: Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit two homers. David Ortiz hit a three-run job. The Sox took two of three, have won six of eight overall and are sitting on top of the AL East by a game and a half.

Brewers 9, Phillies 1: Kyle Lohse was strong and got his first win in eight starts and the Brewers take three of four. But Ryan Braun came out of the game as his thumb continues to bother him, and he’s probably gonna hit the DL soon.

Orioles 10, Rays 7:  Baltimore: unimpressed by Matt Moore. The racked up nine runs on 12 hits off him, with J.J. Hardy, Adam Jones, Alexi Casilla and Nick Markakis each driving in two. Oh, check out this play by Casilla. That’s some Neo-from-Matrix crap right there.

White Sox 4, Athletics 2: Alex Rios and Tyler Flowers homered as the Sox earn a split against one of the hottest teams around. Sure, it comes after a stretch that put them in last place and gave new meaning to the word “punchless” but it’s at least something.

Cubs 4, Pirates 1: Cody Ransom hit a three-run homer. Which I heard on the radio while riding in a cab in Chicago. Which was kind of cool. I had a pretty sweet weekend up there. I’ll offer a couple of mini ballpark reviews of both Wrigley and U.S. Cellular, each of which I hit on Friday, later today.

Braves 8, Dodgers 1: Two homers for Dan Uggla. Homers have basically been his whole season. He’s on pace for 33 this year. He’s on pace for butt in basically every other offensive category. Yasiel Puig went 3 for 5. He’s 13 for 28 to start his career.

Royals 2, Astros 0: Look at Kansas City, winners of five straight. Sure, those wins came against Houston and Minnesota, but they still count. Luis Mendoza and Lucas Harrell had quite the duel going here, each tossing seven shutout innings. Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer each singled in runs in the eighth.

Rockies 8, Padres 7: The Rockies were down 7-4 entering the bottom of the ninth before rallying off Luke Gregerson.  Dexter Fowler scored the tying run that frame and drove in the winning run in the tenth. Carlos Gonzalez was the man, though, making two fantastic catches and driving in two on a ninth inning double.

Yankees 2, Mariners 1: Story of Felix Hernandez’s life: one runner over seven innings but a no decision because his team’s bats couldn’t do anything. David Phelps held them at bay and then Chris Stewart drove in the go-ahead run on with a ninth inning single.

Giants 6, Diamondbacks 2: Chad Gaudin threw up during the third and sixth innings but only coughed up two runs in the fourth against the Dbacks. Kirk Gibson and Kevin Towers probably yelled at their team for not being truly gritty compared to Gaudin after this one.

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
19 Comments

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
2 Comments

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.