The Salt Lake Buzz bats were on fire to start Saturday night's game against the Albuquerque Dukes.
They cooled off in a hurry.The first three Buzz batters to face Dukes starter John O'Donoghue in the top of the first inning tagged the ball for base hits and Salt Lake scored two quick runs.
The rest of the night was all Albuquerque's, as the Dukes punished the Buzz 9-2 to earn their first win of the year. The Buzz fell to 2-1.
"We dug ourselves a hole right off again, but this time our pitcher settled down and did a nice job," Albuquerque manager Rick Dempsey said. "It was the first time we put together an all-around good game. We played well offensively again, but this time we got good pitching and good fielding. It was our first game win no errors."
O'Donoghue, a 6-6 lefty, gave up hits to Mitch Simons, Steve Hazlett and Riccardo Ingram - who hit a double to the warning track in center - to open the game.
"We could have finished their guy (O'Donoghue) off in the first inning, but we didn't do it," Buzz manager Phil Roof said.
After giving up three straight hits, O'Donoghue didn't surrender another until the sixth, retiring 14 consecutive batters at one point.
"My location got better. I spotted my fastball better (after the first inning)," explained O'Donoghue (1-0).
Meanwhile, Buzz starter Marc Barcelo (0-1), who was making his first-ever appearance above the AA level, had control problems. The 23-year-old Barcelo, rated the third best prospect in the Twins organization by "Baseball America," lasted just 3-2/3 innings. He gave up six runs on six hits and five walks. He also hit two batters with pitches and had a wild pitch.
"It was just an off night for Marc," said Buzz Roof, who managed Barcelo at AA Nashville last season. "He struggled a bit, but he'll get much better. I told him after the game `that will probably be the worst night you'll have this year.' "
Barcelo's replacement, Bill Wissler, didn't have much more success. In the sixth inning, Dukes first baseman Brian Traxler did his impression of Robert Redford in "The Natural," pounding a two-run homer off the big scoreboard in left field, giving Albuquerque an 8-2 lead.
The Dukes completed the scoring in the seventh when Buzz reliever Sean Gavaghan threw a wild pitch with the bases loaded, scoring Ron Maurer from third.
"We didn't hit much tonight," said Roof, whose team had a grand total of seven hits. The Dukes, meanwhile, pounded 14 hits.
The Buzz and Dukes will conclude the four game series today at 1 p.m. Dan Naulty will be on the hill for Salt Lake, while Mark Mimbs will pitch for the Dukes. Salt Lake's home opener will be Monday night at 7 p.m. at Franklin Quest Field.
BUZZ BRIEFS: Ingram had three of the seven Buzz hits . . . Both clubs were aided defensively by the double play. Each team turned three Saturday . . . The Dukes went 18 consecutive innings - from the fifth on Thursday to the fifth Saturday - with at least one hit in every inning . . . 5,978 fans showed up to watch the game at the Albuquerque Sports Stadium.