Ray Holbert had three hits and scored four runs Thursday night to lead the Las Vegas Stars past the Salt Lake City Buzz 12-1 in the Pacific Coast League.
Salt Lake now faces its final four games of the season, a homestand with Vancouver. The Buzz, 51/2 games behind first-place Vancouver, will need a wildcard invitation to make the playoffs.Life would have been much simpler for the Buzz had they won Thursday. Now, making postseason play involves a complex mixture of wins and loses between Salt Lake, Vancouver and Calgary.
The Buzz must win a few games from Vancouver but can't let Calgary, currently 21/2 games behind in the Northern Division of the PCL standings, pull ahead of Vancouver. Calgary will finish the season with four games at home against Las Vegas, the last place team in the Southern Division.
There are a number of possibilities at this point, all based on what happens between the three teams.
Melvin Nieves had three hits and drove in three runs for the Stars in their final home game of the season.
Mike Campbell (9-7), who started despite battling the flu, allowed one run and six hits in six innings, striking out six and walking two. Five of the six hits were for extra bases.
The Stars led 2-0 in the bottom of the first on RBI singles by Dave Staton and John Ramos. They made it 8-0 after four with three runs in each of the third and fourth innings.
In the third, Keith Lockhart and Nieves had RBI singles and Julio Bruno drove in the third run with a groundout off losing pitcher Oscar Munoz (8-8). Munoz was relieved by Matt Stevens to start the fourth.
Stevens allowed a leadoff double to Holbert, his second of the game, before giving up an RBI single to Staton and a two-run double to Ray McDavid.
Staton broke out of a lengthy slump with his first two-RBI game since July 27.
The Buzz scored their only run in the top of the sixth off Campbell when Scott Stahoviak led off with a triple and scored on a sacrifice fly by Bernardo Brito.
The Stars added four runs in the bottom of the seventh, all of which were unearned. Third baseman Stahoviak committed his third error of the game on an inning-ending grounder.
Dan Masteller led Salt Lake with three hits in four at-bats, including two doubles.
Vancouver 4, Tucson 3
In Vancouver, Eduardo Perez's two-out RBI single capped a wild three-run rally in the ninth inning that gave the Canadians a win over the Toros.
Edmonton 8, Phoenix 3
In Scottsdale, Ariz., Monty Fariss and Nigel Wilson drove in two runs apiece, and the Trappers scored six runs in the first inning on the way to a victory over the Firebirds.
Calgary 11, Tacoma 3
In Tacoma, Wash., Brian Turang and Alex Rodriguez each went 4-for-6 to lead the Cannons to victory over the Tigers.
The Cannons, who still have a chance to get into the PCL playoffs with four regular-season games left, split a four-game series with the Tigers that drew 30,614 fans. A crowd of 9,279 gave Tacoma a single-season attendance record of 331,249 with four home games left.