Five memorable moments in the career of Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura
The Royals life of Yordano Ventura, from his 2008 signing with the organization until his death early Sunday morning.
Oct. 8, 2008
Yordano Ventura, 17, receives a $28,000 signing bonus from the Royals as a non-drafted free agent.
Sept. 17, 2013
After four minor-league seasons, Ventura makes his major-league debut at Kauffman Stadium against the Indians. In 5 2/3 innings, Ventura surrenders one earned run, five hits and strikes out three.
Sept. 28, 2014
Ventura starts the final game of the regular season with the Royals having clinched a playoff spot, their first since 1985, two days earlier. In a dazzling debut season, Ventura finished sixth in the AL Rookie of the Year voting after a 14-10, 3.20 ERA season.
Sept. 30, 2014
Royals manager Ned Yost’s risky move in the American League Wild Card Game backfires. He inserted Ventura in a relief role in the top of sixth inning with none out and two on with Kansas City protecting a 3-2 lead against Oakland, and Ventura promptly surrendered a three-run homer to Brandon Moss. The A’s would build a 7-3 lead before the Royals rallied to win 9-8 in 12 innings.
Oct. 3, 2014
In his first postseason start, Ventura surrenders one run in seven innings and helps the Royals to a 4-1 victory over the Angels in the second game of their American League Division Series.
Oct. 28, 2014
Facing elimination in the World Series, Ventura takes the ball in Game 6 against the Giants and pitches perhaps the best game of his career. Staked to a 7-0 lead in the second inning, Ventura cruises with seven scoreless innings.
The night is especially poignant for Ventura, who paid tribute to his friend and countryman Oscar Taveras, the St. Louis Cardinals outfielder who had died in a car crash with his girlfriend in the Dominican Republic days earlier. Inscribed on Ventura’s cap next to the KC “RIP, O.T., #18.”
April 4, 2015
Ventura and the Royals agree to a five-year, $23 million contract with two club options. “He’s the kind of guy that you can give a long-term contract and trust that he going to do everything he can to full that contact to the best of his ability,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.
April 12, 2015
Ventura launches a 96 mph fastball up and in on the Angels’ Mike Trout, who eventually whistles a single past Ventura’s head. When Trout came around to score, he and Ventura had words. The benches emptied and Royals catcher Salvador Perez restrained Ventura.
The incident is the first of several over the next few weeks involving Ventura, his fastball, chin music, jawing and fisticuffs.
The A’s Brett Lawrie, the White Sox’s Adam Eaton and the Orioles’ Manny Machado were all involved in confrontations involving Ventura.
July 21, 2015
A struggling Ventura is demoted to Class AAA Omaha, but before he could point his car to Nebraska, Jason Vargas tore an elbow ligament and Ventura was back in the rotation.
Oct. 3, 2015
Ventura beats the Twins 5-1 in the final game of the season and completes perhaps the best stretch of his career. Over his final 14 starts, Ventura went 9-1 with a 3.10 ERA with 91 strikeouts in 87 innings.
The streak coincides with the acquisition of Johnny Cueto, a fellow Dominican who was brought in to become the Royals’ ace. Ventura accepted the challenge and scripted the fast finish.
Oct. 23, 2015
Ventura surrenders one run in 5 1/3 innings in Game 6 of the ALCS against the Blue Jays. He didn’t get a decision the Royals’ pennant-clinching victory.
Aug. 23, 2016
In perhaps his best start of his last season, Ventura surrendered no runs and struck out six over six innings, taking the victory in a 1-0 decision at Miami. The next day, the Marlins’ Jose Fernandez pitched his own gem with seven scoreless innings.
Jan. 22, 2017
Ventura, 25, is killed in car crash on a highway near Rancho Arriba in the Dominican Republic.