Lee is untouchable as Phils shut out Sox, 5-0

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Lee is untouchable as Phils shut out Sox, 5-0

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
PHILADELPHIA -- What was supposed to be a terrific pitching matchup in this series opener was, instead, a mismatch.

Cliff Lee tossed a complete-game two-hit shutout while Josh Beckett was tagged for two two-run homers over six innings, sending the Red Sox to a 5-0 defeat to the Philadelphia Phillies, Boston's fifth loss in its last six games -- all against National League opponents.

The masterpiece was Lee's third straight complete-game shutout and extended his consecutive scoreless streak to 32 innings.

Domonic Brown gave Lee all the support he needed with a two-run belt to center in the second. After Lee helped himself with a fifth-inning sacrifice, the Phils used the long ball against Beckett again in the sixth when Shane Victorino homered to right with Placido Polanco aboard.

Beckett, making his first start since June 15, was tagged with his first loss in almost exactly a month, dating back to May 29.

The Sox had just one baserunner -- a walk to Kevin Youkilis to open the second -- through the first four innings. They didn't record a hit until Marco Scutaro led off the sixth with a line single to left.

The only other hit for the Sox came on a leadoff double by Darnell McDonald.

The game marked the seventh time the Sox have been blanked this season.

STAR OF THE GAME: Cliff Lee
When he's in a groove, Lee can be the best pitcher in baseball. Tuesday night, he certainly looked like it.

Lee tossed his third straight complete-game shutout, allowing just two hits, while extending his scoreless innings streak to 32.

All of which undoubtedly makes the Red Sox feel very fortunate indeed that Lee didn't sign with the New York Yankees last winter.

HONORABLE MENTION: Domonic Brown
Brown staked the Phillies to a 2-0 lead in the second with a two-run homer, then doubled to open the fifth, took third on a fly ball and trotted home with the third Philadelphia run on a sacrifice by Lee.

GOAT OF THE GAME: Josh Beckett
Beckett didn't pitch poorly. He made two bad pitches, which resulted in four runs for the Phillies -- a pitch up in the strike zone to Brown in the second, then a fastball that wandered out over the plate for Shane Victorino for another two-run homer in the sixth.

TURNING POINT: Domonic Brown's two-run homer in the second -- early as it was -- was all the support Lee would need.

With the Red Sox handcuffed by Lee, the 2-0 edge was more than enough considering how well the lefty was throwing.

BY THE NUMBERS: Josh Beckett's streak of opening the season with 14 straight outings without allowing more than four earned runs in any one -- the longest since Jeff Fassero in 2000 -- came to an end.

QUOTE OF NOTE: "It will be good offensively, but damn, I've got to play second, first and right. That's a lot of ground to cover, man.'' -- Dustin Pedroia, asked what sort of impact David Ortiz at first and Adrian Gonzalez in right field might have Wednesday night.

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.