Sox slide past Astros, 2-1, to complete sweep

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Sox slide past Astros, 2-1, to complete sweep

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox InsiderFollow @sean_mcadam
HOUSTON -- On a day in which the Red Sox stranded 12 baserunners and were just 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position, it was perhaps fitting that they would push across the winning run without so much as swinging the bat.

Kevin Youkilis worked a based-loaded walk in the top of the ninth, forcing home Drew Sutton with what proved to be the difference in a 2-1 victory over the Houston Astros.

The Astros had intentionally walked Adrian Gonzalez to pitch to Youkilis, who foiled the strategy by drawing a five-pitch walk from reliever Mark Melancon.

The win gave the Sox a sweep of their weekend series here, a four-game winning streak and left them with an interleague record of 10-8.

Josh Beckett, named earlier Sunday as an American League All-Star, picked up his seventh win, allowing just one on five hits over eight innings while fanning a season high 11 hitters.

Jonathan Papelbon locked down the ninth inning for his 17th save in 18 tries.

The Sox scored their first run in the fourth on a fielder's choicethrowing error by first baseman Brett Wallace.

Houston's only run came in the when pinch-hitter Angel Sanchez singled home Wallace (leadoff double) from second base.

STAR OF THE GAME: Josh Beckett
Beckett turned in another gem, limiting the Astros to a single run over eight innings, but until the Red Sox rallied in the top of the ninth, he stood to take a tough-luck no decision.

Named to the All-Star team earlier in the day, Beckett struck out a season-high 11 and allowed just five hits -- four of them singles.

HONORABLE MENTION: Kevin Youkilis
If nothing else, Youkilis had an eventful day.

He singled and scored the first run in the fourth, getting spiked by Houston catcher Carlos Corporan in the process.

In the ninth, after the Astros walked Adrian Gonzalez, Youkilis worked had a bases-loaded walk to force in the winning run.

GOAT OF THE GAME: Mark Melancon
Melancon walked pinch-hitter Drew Sutton to start trouble for the Astros in the ninth, and after a single, fielder's choice and an intentional walk, walked Youkilis to lose the game for Houston.

TURNING POINT
In a 1-1 game in the bottom of the eighth, Beckett allowed a leadoff single to pinch-hitter Jeff Keppinger, and when Michael Bourn got down a sacrifice bunt, the Astros had the potential go-ahead run in scoring position.

But Beckett got Clint Barmes to ground out, then retired Hunter Pence on a flyout to center, setting the stage for the Sox' ninth-inning heroics.

BY THE NUMBERS
Josh Beckett had his 9th straight start of six-plus innings during which he's allowed five or fewer hits, the longest streak in franchise history.

QUOTE OF NOTE
"Yes.'' Terry Francona's succinct answer after being asked if he was glad to be through with interleague play for the season.

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.