Rays creep up in rearview mirror, 7-2

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Rays creep up in rearview mirror, 7-2

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Rays are still entertaining hope, however slight, that they can make a run at the wild card spot in the American League. In the opener of a three-game weekend series, the Red Sox did nothing to disabuse them of that notion.

The Rays exploded for five runs in the first three innings against Red Sox starter John Lackey and posted an easy 7-2 victory to move them to within five games in the loss column of the Sox.

The two teams meet six more times this season.

Lackey retired the Rays in order in the first, but was tagged for a three-run homer by catcher John Jaso in the second.

After getting two quick outs in the third, Lackey allowed the next five hitters to reach, with two scoring.

Lackey didn't return, having been struck in the left calf on a comebacker by Jaso in the third. Then again, he was already closing in on 70 pitches after three innings and had spotted the Rays a 5-0 lead. The loss dropped Lackey to 12-12 and raised his ERA to 6.30.

The Sox broke through for two runs in the top of the sixth on a run-scoring infield single by Jacoby Ellsbury (14-game hitting streak) and a sacrifice fly by Marco Scutaro (13 RBI in last nine games).

But Tampa Bay responded with three doubles in the bottom of the inning off reliever Scott Atchison to re-claim a five-run lead.

STAR OF THE GAME: Wade Davis
While John Lackey was imploding early on, Davis was cruising against the Red Sox lineup, allowing just two hits over the first five innings while facing one over the minimum in that span.

Davis was nicked for two runs in tthe sixth, but hung on to go the distance, allowing just six hits -- two of them in the infield.

HONORABLE MENTION: John Jaso
Jaso launched a three-run homer in the second inning to begin the assult on John Lackey, providing the only runs that Davis would need. He later would add a leadoff double and a run scored in the sixth off Scott Atchison.

Adding injury to insult, Jaso hit a sharp comebacker off Lackey's left calf in the third inning, bringing an end to Lackey's night one way or another.

GOAT OF THE GAME: John Lackey
Lackey needed to get the Sox a win in the series opener, or, at the very least, take them deep into the game. He did neither, allowing five runs in the first three innings as his ERA went up to a league-worst 6.30 ERA. The game marked the ninth time in 25 outings that Lackey had given up five or more runs.

TURNING POINT: The Sox hinted at a comeback in the top of the sixth when they finally broke through against Davis, scoring twice and cutting the deficit from five runs to three.

But just as quickly, the Rays countered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the inning and the five-run lead was re-established.

BY THE NUMBERS: Marco Scutaro, who knocked in a run with a sacrifice fly, now has 14 RBI in his last nine games.

QUOTE OF NOTE: "We've got to win games. We're trying our hardest, but we didn't play very well tonight.'' Dustin Pedroia.

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.