The Salt Lake Buzz had a perfect excuse for having an off game in a 10-5 loss to the Edmonton Trappers Sunday night.
The Trappers could've used the same excuse, but they didn't need to. A Vic Rodriguez second-inning grand slam got Edmonton started and it just kept going from there.With a plane flight that was delayed out of Salt Lake, the Buzz didn't make it into Edmonton until about an hour-and-a-half before the game was set to begin. By the time the team got to the ballpark, taking batting practice was out of the question.
But the Trappers, who played last night in Albuquerque, had a layover in the Salt Lake airport Sunday and were on the same flight to Edmonton as the Buzz. The game was pushed back 20 minutes so the players could at least warm up a bit.
"The travel is no excuse," Buzz manager Scott Ullger said. "They had the same deal we had and they're older than us. If anything it should have hurt them more."
What was a problem, however, was starting pitcher Oscar Munoz' control. After striking out the side in order in the first inning, Munoz loaded the bases in the second with no outs on a hit batsman and a pair of walks. Rodriguez made Munoz pay with a towering homer to left. It was Edmoton's first hit of the ball game, but they had four runs on the scoreboard.
"Oscar dug himself a big hole and he couldn't get out of it," Ullger said. "He started to overpitch and the harder he tried the worse it got."
The Trappers scored two more runs in the second, both unearned, after a pair of Buzz fielding errors.
The Buzz started the game fast putting up three runs in the top of the first on a two-run double off the left-field wall on by Bernardo Brito and a sacrifice fly by Brian Raabe.
After Edmonton exploded for six runs in the second to take the lead, the Trappers' Mitch Lyden added to it with a two-run double off Buzz reliever Bill Wissler in the sixth and the lead was 8-3.
Tim McIntosh hit a solo homer for Salt Lake in the fifth and Brito added a run-scoring single in the sixth, but it wasn't enough.
"It was just a case of the pitching letting us down again," Ullger said. "It's tough to win games when the other team puts that many runs up."
Salt Lake is now 27-30 and dropped back into last in the tight PCL Northern Division race, percentage points behind 27-29 Edmonton.
The game was played in front of 3,603 fans at John Ducey Field, which is a far cry from Franklin Quest. The Trappers' ballpark is in disrepair and their is barely enough room for the Buzz to move in the visitor's clubhouse.
"It's like going from a limo to a Volkswagen," Ullger said.
The Buzz and Trappers will meet again tonight in a 7 p.m. contest. RHP Kurt Miller (5-4, 5.40 ERA) is scheduled to pitch for Edmonton against Salt Lake's LHP Shawn Bryant (1-2, 6.12).
Other PCL scores Sunday: Vancouver 9, Tucson 0; Tacoma 7, Calgary 0; Albuquerque 6, Phoenix 5; Las Vegas 3, Colorado Springs 2.