Red Sox vs. Rays: Lineup and notes

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Red Sox vs. Rays: Lineup and notes

BOSTON -- Today's Red Sox lineup, courtesy of Sean McAdam, and pregame notes, courtesy of the Red Sox' P.R. department:

THURSDAY'S LINEUP
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
David Ortiz DH
Kevin Youkilis3B
Josh Reddick RF
Carl Crawford LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
Marco Scutaro SS

Kyle Weiland P

VS. THE RAYS
Boston opens its sixth and final series against Tampa Bay in 2011, a four-game set . . . The Sox have lost 9 of 14 against the Rays this year, going 1-4 at Fenway Park and 4-5 while taking 4 of 9 in St. Pete . . . Since the start of 2010, the Sox are just 4-10 against the Rays in Boston . . . The Sox have dropped their last five games with the Rays by a combined 33-13 score, beginning with the second game of an Aug. 16 doubleheader . . . The current five-game drought is the Sox' longest ever against Tampa Bay . . . Since 2002, Bostons only longer single-season slide vs. any team was an 0-8 stretch vs. LAA, (April 23-July 30, 2008) . . . The Sox havent won a season series against the Rays overall since taking seven straight series from 2001-07.

EAST BEASTS
All of Bostons final 24 games, beginning Sept. 5, come vs. A.L. East rivals (2-7 thus far) . . . The Sox lead the A.L. with a 34-23 (.586) mark vs. the A.L. East in 2011, but are 3-11 in their last 14 . . . . Of Jacoby Ellsburys 27 homers, 17 have come against A.L. East rivals, the most for any player this year against that division . . . He also leads the majors in RBI (50) and batting average (.376) against the A.L. East (min. 10 games against the division).

STREAKING AGAIN
Jacoby Ellsbury tripled on Wednesday and has hit safely in his last 18 games, going 29-for-77 (.377) with 11 doubles, 2 triples, 4 homers, 13 RBI, 16 runs, 9 walks and a steal during the stretch . . . The 18-game hit streak is tied for the longest active run in the majors with Texas' Adrian Beltre . . . This is Ellsburys fourth career hit streak of 18 or more games . . . Since 1919, the only other Red Sox with at least four single-season hit streaks of at least 18 games was Nomar Garciaparra.

SEPTEMBER MOMENTS
Marco Scutaro leads the majors (min. 50 PA) with a .429 average (18-for-42) in September and ranks second with 16 RBI in the month, trailing only Detroits Victor Martinez (17) . . . He has driven in at least one run in seven of his last eight games . . . Ellsbury is 22-for-56 (.393) since Sept. 1, leading the majors with 11 XBH (7 2B, 3B, 3 HR) and 29 times on base (tied) . . . He is batting .339 (120-for-354) in 88 career September tgames, his best mark in any month and the best career clip by a Sox in September (min. 250 PA) since Wade Boggs, 1982-92 (.349).

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.