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And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Red Sox 2, Cardinals 1: Joe Kelly pitched against the guys who, this time last week, were his teammates. And he did well: one run on three hits over seven. Shelby Miller was just as good, but the Sox got to Trevor Rosenthal in the ninth, loading the bases with no one out before a Xander Bogaerts sac fly. The Cardinals were lucky they only gave up one run there, but one run was enough.

Blue Jays 5, Orioles 1: But I was told Tuesday night was a “statement game” from the Orioles. Huh. Maybe the statement has been hereby recanted? Maybe, for some reason, this game did not count as much as Tuesday’s, making it far less important? Tell me, Orioles fans who got on my case for doubting Bud Norris’ assessment of Tuesday’s night game, why is this one different? While I wait, I’ll just tell everyone that Drew Hutchison almost went the distance, allowing just the one run.

Yankees 5, Tigers 1: Chris Capuano of all people tied up the Tigers, allowing only one run over six and two-thirds. And it wasn’t even earned. Meanwhile Justin Verlander held ’em close, but the bullpen was pretty stinky, allowing three in the eighth. The contrast between Tuesday, when Brad Ausmus could use Chamberlain, Soria and Nathan, and last night when he had to go with Blaine Hardy and Phil Coke, is pretty major. It’ll behoove the Tigers to rest up those latter three as much as possible between now and the playoffs so the Tigers don’t have their soft underbelly exposed in close games like this one.

Rays 7, Athletics 3: The Rays avoid a sweep thanks to Jeremy Hellickson allowing just two hits in seven innings and Sonny Gray having his worst day as a major leaguer (4.1 IP, 10 H, 7 R, 4 BB). Well, I dunno, maybe he’s had worse days. Like, if he had to put his dog down on the same day he tossed a three-hitter that would probably be a way worse day, all things considered. But this was his worst pitching performance.

Royals 4, Diamondbacks 3: Mike Moustakas hit a two-run homer and drove in four. His fourth RBI — which provided the winning margin — came in the ninth when he beat out a play at first on a would-be double play. He was initially called out but the call was overturned on review. The game story I read praised Moustakas for his hustle in beating that throw, but it wouldn’t have been as close if he didn’t flop on his belly for the head first slide which is a really idiotic way to go into a bag which you are allowed to overrun. But hey, god for him.

Rockies 13, Cubs 4: Gonzalez homered, doubled and singled and Corey Dickerson drove in three runs on four hits. And this was fun: Despite being down nine runs in the ninth inning, Cubs manager Rick Renteria challenged a play at first on the final out of the game. Which is totally what MLB had in mind when it initiated the replay system. But hey, their fault. They’re the ones who made it all about manager challenges instead of something sensible.

Mariners 7, Braves 3: Down 3-1 in the third, the Mariners turned on the power: Dustin Ackley led off with a homer and Logan Morrison hit a three-run shot of his own. Chris Young got the win and after the game said “you can’t get caught up in wins and losses as a starting pitcher. One day the media will stop evaluating us on that.” I heart him. I don’t heart the Braves lately. They’ve lost eight straight. But I do hope they are enjoying their visits to San Diego, Los Angeles and Seattle. They’re lovely cities in August. Perhaps they will bring back souvenirs!

Nationals 7, Mets 1: And now the Nats have a four-game lead in the division, validating my prediction at the break that they would slowly pull away and take control of the division. Wish, like with so many other things, I was wrong about that, but alas. Doug Fister allowed one earned run in seven and a third and Adam LaRoche drove in three.

Rangers 3, White Sox 1: Adam Rosales hit two homers, providing all of the Rangers’ runs. He was then waived and claimed by the A’s, sent back to the Rangers and had the process repeat ten times before going to sleep. This joke is brought to you by the year 2013.

Reds 8, Indians 3: Mat Latos pitched shutout ball into the eighth inning before running out of gas and the Reds got a three run homer from Zack Cozart and a two-run shot from Kristopher Negron.

Pirates 7, Marlins 3: Josh Harrison remains hot. He extended his hitting streak to ten games and is is 20 for 44 over that span. And it ain’t all singles: he’s got six doubles, a triple and five home runs.

Phillies 10, Astros 3: I guess the Phillies’ offense is waking up. Ryan Howard had two hits and two RBIs, Ben Revere had four hits and Chase Utley hit a three-run homer. This one was over after the first inning, really. David Buchanan pitched nicely in Cliff Lee’s spot. I guess it’s really Buchanan’s spot now given that Lee’s season is almost certainly over.

Padres 5, Twins 4: Seth Smith’s solo homer in the 10th put the Padres ahead for good, but if Alexi Amarista doesn’t make this awesome play in center in the bottom of the ninth, the Twins walk off with this one.

Dodgers 2, Angels 1: Dan Haren, who has been awful, wasn’t awful. Indeed, he was pretty good, allowing one run in seven and a third. Might have had a run saved by a sick throw from Yasiel Puig to gun down Hank Conger at third in the sixth inning. Kudos to Justin Turner’s quick tag too.

Giants 7, Brewers 4: Michael Morse and Pablo Sandoval each drove in three runs. The Giants have won 5 of 7.

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.