Punto, Red Sox beat Blue Jays 7-4

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Punto, Red Sox beat Blue Jays 7-4

TORONTO So far, Dustin Pedroias absence from the Red Sox lineup has not presented a problem. The Red Sox beat the Blue Jays 7-4 on Saturday afternoon, their second straight win in Toronto.

Nick Punto, who has taken Pedroias place in the starting lineup, went 3-for-4 with a double and a home run, his first of the season, two runs scored and two RBI. Punto, who has struggled offensively for much of the season, raised his average from .132 to .175 with his outing.

It was also the Sox fifth win in six games since Pedroia left Mondays game against the Tigers at Fenway Park with a right thumb injury, later diagnosed as a torn abductor muscle.

Felix Doubront continued his string of strong outings. He went 6 13 innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on seven hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. Two of the three runs he allowed on came on solo home runs, one by Jeff Mathis with one out in the third, the other by Jose Bautista leading off the eighth.

Doubront took the team lead in wins, improving his record to 6-2 with a 3.75 ERA. It was his sixth straight start with at least six strikeouts and his sixth overall with at least seven.

In his last six starts he is 5-1 with a 2.73 ERA, while not giving up more than three earned runs in any of those outings.

Daniel Nava, back in the lead-off spot, continued to pace the Sox offense. He went 1-for-3 with two RBI, a walk, and a stolen base. He lined out to open the game, then reached in three of his next four plate appearances with a single, a walk, and getting hit by a pitch. He has reached base safely in 21 of 23 games since he was called up on May 10. The Sox are 6-0 in his career when he leads off.

The Sox scored four runs all with two outs -- in the second inning. David Ortiz led off by striking out against Jays starter Kyle Drabek. Jarrod Saltalamacchia walked before Kevin Youkilis struck out. Consecutive singles to right by Ryan Sweeney and Will Middlebrooks scored Saltalamacchia. Punto doubled to right, scoring Sweeney. Nava singled to center scoring Middlebrooks and Punto, before Mike Aviles struck out to end the inning.

Drabek took the loss, falling to 5-5. He went 6 23 innings, giving up five runs, four earned, on six hits and four walks with four strikeouts.
Matt Albers, Andrew Miller, Vicente Padilla, and Alfredo Aceves combined to pitch the final 2 13 innings, giving up just one (unearned) run by Albers in the eighth. Aceves earned his 14th

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.