Morales saves Red Sox bullpen with long outing

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Morales saves Red Sox bullpen with long outing

TORONTO After his outing Sunday afternoon, 4 13 scoreless innings against the Blue Jays, Franklin Morales was surprised to learn it was his longest outing since more than four years ago.

But I was a starter then, he said.

Yes, he was a starter on April 28, 2008, with the Rockies when he went 4 13 innings. His performance Sunday afternoon was his longest as a reliever.

Morales entered Sundays game with two outs and the bases loaded to take over after Daniel Bards dismal start.

The first couple innings was tough to watch, manager Bobby Valentine said. After that was easy to watch. Franklin was easy to watch, I guarantee that.

Franklin saved the day so we didnt have to abuse the bullpen, I guarantee that.

Morales gave up just two hits with no walks and four strikeouts. He combined with Scott Atchison and Rich Hill to keep the Jays off the scoreboard over the final 6 13 innings.

Morales was rested. He had pitched just twice in the previous week, a total of one inning and 28 pitches two-thirds of an inning and 22 pitches Thursday against the Tigers and one-third of an inning and six pitches May 27 against the Rays. But he more than doubled his previous career-high in innings pitched as a reliever in one outing (2.0) which he had done 12 times previously. Valentine checked with Morales at the end of each inning to make sure he was good to go out for the next one.

Yep, and he could have gone more, Valentine said. He felt great. He was rested and his stints havent been long really since spring training. But he has a good arm.

I didnt feel tired, Morales said. Sometimes if I dont throw a lot of pitches or a lot of innings, sometime I feel tired. But I feel very good today and my arm is good.

I know Monday is a day off and only what I do is make my pitches.

With the outing Morales lowered his ERA nearly a full run, from 4.41 to 3.48. He also lowered his already impressive road ERA more than a half run, from 1.35 to 0.82. In nine road games, spanning 11 innings, he has given up just one earned run. That compares strangely to his home ERA of 6.52 spanning 9.67 innings in 12 games.

Morales says he just tries to throw each pitch for a strike and not think too much about those kinds of numbers. It certainly worked on Sunday.

Now, he said, its good to have an off-day.

Yeah, I need to rest, he said.

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.