McAdam: Pedroia comes up big to save Sox

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McAdam: Pedroia comes up big to save Sox

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
In a Red Sox clubhouse that seemed equal parts exhausted and exhilarated early Monday morning, David Ortiz paced before his locker, gathering his belongings.

"I wouldn't trade Pedie for anyone in the league right now," he said, shaking his head in astonishment. "Put that in the paper."

"Pedie," of course, is Dustin Pedroia, whose 16-inning single snapped an epic scoreless pitching duel, gave the Red Sox a 1-0 win and sent the Sox on to Baltimore with a series victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.

All night -- and into the early morning -- Pedroia seemed to be playing on another level. Twice, he went sprawling to his right in the dirt to field balls headed for the outfield, both times then scrambling to his feet to make throws to first.

By the eighth inning, just halfway through, there were four hits, total, on the game; Pedroia had half of them.

When the game finally ended, Pedroia was 3-for-7. The entire Rays lineup, by contrast, was 3-for-52.

That sort of statistical parallel gives life to the idea that the undersized infielder has an outsized game, bigger than the sum of it's parts.

Terry Francona, whose respect and admiration for Derek Jeter is well-documented, has taken to linking the two when he describes their impact. The Yankees, Francona has noted, want Jeter somehow involved when the game is on the line -- be it at the plate, on the field or on the bases.

The Sox, Francona adds, now feel the same about Pedroia.

That's a heady comparison, one that likely makes Pedroia uncomfortable, since for all his bravura -- think "Laser Show" and his non-stop chirping in the dugout and clubhouse, Pedroia is actually quite modest when it comes to his own accomplishments.

He insisted, for instance, that his game-winner Monday morning was the result of a simple goal.

"I just wanted to go home," shrugged Pedroia. "Everyone did."

The game seemed to play to Pedroia's strengths -- requiring energy when little was left and an intense competitive streak to overcome the rigors of such a game.

"It was a grind," acknowledged Pedroia, who grinds as well as anyone. "You're playing to win. It doesn't matter how long it takes."

Just when it seemed that neither team was capable of scoring -- the Red Sox stranded eight in the spam of three innings at one point while the Rays managed just six baserunners for the entire game -- Pedroia stepped to the plate with teammates at the corners and one out.

His slashing single to right field confirmed that he was the right man at the plate at the right time.

"By that time," said Francona, "it's not only physical, it's mentally draining. (Pedroia) is the one guy you know will figure out a way."

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

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.