Sox stretching out Morales

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Sox stretching out Morales

BOSTON In his previous outing Sunday in Toronto left-hander Franklin Morales went 4 13 innings, more than doubling his prior career high in a relief appearance. In Saturdays 4-2 loss to the Nationals, he entered in the sixth inning with the Red Sox trailing by four runs.

He pitched a perfect three innings with three strikeouts.

In his last two outings combined, he has gone 7 13 scoreless innings, giving up two hits with no walks and seven strikeouts, lowering his overall ERA to 3.04.

Thats what I try to do, Morales said. I try to hold the other team, to do my thing, give my team a chance to get a couple runs. Thats what I try to do, throw strikes, and make my pitches.

Morales struck out three of the last four batters he faced Rick Ankiel swinging at a curveball, pinch-hitter Tyler Moore looking at a 96-mph fastball, and Bryce Harper swinging at a curveball.

When I pitch I dont think for a strikeout, Morales said. I pitch to get the hitter out and if I have the opportunity, I make my pitch and thats it.

Morales three perfect innings were the most by a Sox reliever this season and the most by a Sox lefty since Jamie Moyers three perfect innings in Oakland on May 28, 1996.

For Morales, who thought he could have gone longer against the Nationals, his last two performances were needed. In the outing against the Blue Jays, he entered with two outs in the second inning after Daniel Bards meltdown, when Bard faced 13 batters, hit two, and gave up five runs.

Saturday against the Nationals, Morales relieved Daisuke Matsuzaka, who was returning to a major league mound for the first time since Tommy John surgery June 10, 2011.

Manager Bobby Valentine knew an early call to the bullpen would be likely.

"That's twice Franklin's pitched in a bit of a long role, Valentine said. We're stretching him out a little, and he's maintaining his stuff, throwing strikes, changing speeds. He's doing a very good job.

Getting Morales stretched out also gives Valentine another pitching option, which he really hasnt had this season an emergency spot starter.

"You have to make as many plans as you can, Valentine said. With the way our bullpen's set up, I think that he has some length in him. I thought he did, and now I have a better feeling that he has some length in him. It's good to have."

For his part, Morales said hell take whatever role is asked of him.

Thats not my decision, he said. But I try to do what I can to help. What I can control is go out there. If you give me an opportunity. Ill take it.

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.