Gonzo's HR drought ends at the right time

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Gonzo's HR drought ends at the right time

BOSTON -- Adrian Gonzalez made a timely display that perhaps he is ready to break out of whatever has been causing his power slump this season.

Although the Red Sox were mostly stymied by White Sox rookie Dylan Axelrod over 6 23 innings, it was Gonzalezs RBI single in the first that scored Carl Crawford and tied the score at 1, accounting for the only run the Chicago righthander allowed.

Then in the eighth, with the score still tied, nobody out and Crawford and David Ortiz on base after walks from rookie lefty Leyson Septimo, Gonzalez mashed a 2-and-1, 93-mph fastball into the Monster seats, putting the Red Sox up by three on their way to a 5-1 win.

He walked the first two hitters so I could see a couple of pitches, Gonzalez said. Never faced him before. Fell behind 2-1, I saw fastball for a strike so I was looking for another fastball for a strike, be aggressive. And he threw a fastball up in the zone that I was able to get to.

I mean, it feels great to win the game. Im not really worried about hitting the home runs or any of that stuff, Gonzalez said. Im just trying to have good at-bats.

It was just Gonzalezs seventh home run of the season and first in 66 at-bats, since his last on June 24 against the Braves. The blast gave him a season-high four RBI, the most since he also drove in four runs on May 20, 2011, against the Cubs at Fenway.

The home run also gave Gonzalez 50 RBI for the season, and a team-leading nine game-winning RBI this season.

It was big, said manager Bobby Valentine. It really inspired us to victory, thats for sure. We were kind of dull there for a while. He got the first RBI in the first inning and we really werent doing anything. He showed a lot of patience and delivered.

Gonzalez, who went 2-for-4, ended a career-best 18-game hitting streak on July 8, the day before the All-Star break. Still, he has hit safely in 20 of his last 21 games at a .384 (33-for-86) rate with five doubles, two home runs, 14 RBI, and 13 runs scored.

Just trying to hit singles, Gonzalez said of his current stretch.

Gonzalezs first RBI, on a single, allowed him to make up for his error in the top of the inning that allowed the White Sox to score their lone run.

With left-hander Adam Dunn batting, and Kevin Youkilis on first base with a single, the Red Sox employed the infield shift. On Dunns groundout to Pedro Ciriaco at second base, Youkilis took second . But with Will Middlebrooks still off third, Youkilis broke for third. Gonzalezs errant throw to Middlebrooks sailed into left field, allowing Youkilis to come home, scoring an unearned run off Aaron Cook.

Gonzalez blamed it on his lacking quarterback skills.

I was thinking back shoulder, Will was thinking over the top, Gonzalez said. It didnt work out.

On this night, thought, just about everything else did.

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.