Yordano Ventura, young pitching ace for the Royals, dies in car accident

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The young pitching ace Yordano Ventura of the Kansas City Royals, died Sunday morning in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He was 25.

According to a policeman on the scene, Ventura was driving too fast when he vehicle went out of control.

Ventura came to national attention during the 2014 MLB post-season when he and his Wild Card Team shut out two teams, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Baltimore Orioles, to win the American League Championship and head to the World Series. The San Francisco Giants won that year, but it took seven games to do it, thanks to the incredible pitching of Ventura. He was the starting pitcher in Games 2 and 6 of that World Series and in the latter, Ventura threw seven shut-out innings to help win the game, 10-0. the Royals were down in the series, 3-2. The Giants won game 7 and the 2014 World Series.

In 2015 the Royals went back to the Fall Classic, winning it all against the New York Mets.

After the 2014 season Ventura had some troubles on and off the field, getting suspended for intentionally hitting batters and starting fights. In April 2015 he instigated bench-clearing fights in three consecutive starts.

Ventura had a 102-MPH fastball, his bread and butter pitch, plus a curveball and change-up.

In his home country Yordano Ventura was a very popular sports hero. He spent much of his off-season there as a national treasure and celebrity.

His last appearance in a MLB game came on September 30, 2016, when the Royals played the Cleveland Indians. The Tribe won, 7-2. His lifetime ERA is 3.89, over 547.2 innings pitched. He had 470 strike outs.

Reporter Claudia Gestro had several opportunities to interview Yordano Ventura for a Venezuelan news outlet, one of which we present here.

Photo of Yordano Ventura by Claudia Gestro