Germano silver lining during Saturday loss

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Germano silver lining during Saturday loss

It wasn't easy to find a bright spot in the Red Sox' 6-1 loss to the New York Yankees, the team's fifth straight defeat.

The Sox were punchless offensively, being held to two runs or fewer for the seventh time in the last nine games and starter Franklin Morales was pounded for four homers and six runs in just 3 13 innings.

There was a silver lining. His name was Justin Germano.

Germano took over for Morales with one out in the fourth and pitched shutout ball the rest of the way, allowing five hits over the final 5 23 innings while striking out seven and walking just two.

It was his first appearance for the Red Sox, and it resulted in Germano getting a standing ovation as he came off the mound after the top of the ninth.

"He did exactly what he was doing at Triple A,'' said Bobby Valentine, "and I'm glad that it translated here. They said that he had used all of his pitches, thrown strikes and gotten outs
and give you a chance to win. In today's game, he was very valuable in that he was the second pitcher and the last pitcher.''

Indeed, Germano's outing -- excellent as it was -- was also noteworthy since it meant the Sox didn't have to burn the bullpen. On a day in which they were playing a doubleheader, and coming just after a night in which starter Josh Beckett lasted only five innings, there's no telling how important that was.

"I was just trying to go out there and eat as many innings as I could,'' said Germano. "I'm glad I was able to finish it and save the bullpen. It's tough, because you don't want things to
get out of control. You want to just go out there and try to make your pitches and try to keep the score as close as you can and keep your team in there.''

Ordinarily, in a long-relief, mopup stint, pitchers would focus on throwing strikes and making them hit the ball. But against a lineup as fearsome as New York's, such a basic approach has its own dangers, since the Yankees are capable of piling on.

"You want to attack the zone,'' said Germano, "but you have to throw qualilty strikes. You really have to try to keep them off balance and mix it up the best you can.''

The appearance ended a whirlwind week for Germano, who was pitching at Pawtucket but ready to utilize a July 1 opt-out clause in his contract to go elsewhere if the Sox didn't add him to the major league roster.

He flew cross-country Tuesday afternoon, then returned home from Oakland to Boston the very next afternoon before making his Boston debut Saturday.

"I knew it was going to be tough for them to make room for me (on the roster),'' he said. "I honestly didn't think they were going to, but I'm glad they did. It's a great organization to be
a part of and I'm glad I got the chance to come up here and show them what I can do.''

Former Red Sox prospect Andy Marte killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

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Former Red Sox prospect Andy Marte killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

Former major leaguer Andy Marte, a one-time top prospect in the Red Sox organization, was killed in a car crash in the Dominican Republic on Sunday. He was 33.

Marte was killed the same day that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a separate car crash in the Dominican. Ventura was 25. Coincidentally, Ventura was the Royals starting pitcher in Marte's final major league game, for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 6, 2014.

Marte, drafted by the Braves in 2000, was ranked the No. 9 prospect in baseball in 2005 when the third baseman was traded to the Red Sox as part of the deal that sent shortstop Edgar Renteria to Atlanta and Marte became the top-ranked prospect in the Red Sox organization.  

Marte was traded by the Red Sox to the Indians in 2006 in the deal that sent Coco Crisp to Boston and spent five seasons with Cleveland. His best season was 2009 (.232, six home runs, 25 RBI in 47 games). After a six-game stint with Arizona in 2014, he played in South Korea the past two years.  

Metropolitan traffic authorities in the Dominican told the Associated Press that Marte died when a car he was driving his a house along the highway between San Francisco de Macoris and Pimentel, about 95 miles (150 kilometers) north of the capital.
 

Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

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Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura was killed in a car crash in in the Dominican Republic on Sunday morning, according to multiple reports. Ventura was 25 years old.

Highway patrol spokesman Jacobo Mateo told the Associated Press that Ventura died on a highway leading to the town of Juan Adrian, about 40 miles (70 kilometers) northwest of Santo Domingo. He says it's not clear if Ventura was driving.

Ventura was killed the same day former major leaguer Andy Marte died in a separate car crash in the Dominican. Coincidentally, Ventura was the starting pitcher in Marte's final MLB game, for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 6, 2014. 

Ventura was 13-8 with a 4.08 ERA for the Royals' 2015 World Series champions and 11-12 with a 4.45 ERA in 32 starts in 2016. The right-hander made his major league debut in 2013 and in 2014 went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA for Kansas City's A.L. pennant winners. 

Ironically, Ventura paid tribute to his good friend and fellow Dominican, Oscar Tavares, who was also killed in a car crash in the D.R. in October 2014, by wearing Tavares' initials and R.I.P. on his cap before Ventura's start in Game 6 of the World Series in 2014. 

Ventura is the second current major league player to die in the past five months. Former Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident in Miami on Sept. 25.