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Pitchers, hitters combine to lift Buzz over Trappers

SHARE Pitchers, hitters combine to lift Buzz over Trappers

Phil Roof couldn't have been much happier. His Salt Lake Buzz baseball team did just about all the things it takes to make a manager smile in beating Edmonton 8-4.

The Buzz got a nice effort from starter Benj Sampson. They got an outstanding performance from reliever Kevin Ohme. Chris Latham continued to make his case for another call-up to the Minnesota Twins with a strong day at the plate, and the rest of the offense manufactured enough runs that even a two-run ninth-inning homer didn't put the game in jeopardy.And as if all the good baseball wasn't enough to please the Buzz manager, even Mother Nature played along and didn't allow some late afternoon rain showers to start falling until the last out had been recorded.

"We executed today," Roof said. "I'm pleased. We held them to nine runs in the series and we're capable of continuing this."

The win was Salt Lake's fifth straight and gave the Buzz their first series sweep of the season - unless you, like Roof was quick to do, count the 1-0 "series" against Fresno earlier in the season.

"It all starts with pitching," Roof said. "It helps to keep their offense from scoring and takes the pressure off you to score runs."

Of course, scoring runs hasn't been a real problem lately for the Buzz. In the five-game streak, Salt Lake has scored at least five runs in each game. They've scored 39 runs while allowing only 13.

But what do the Buzz have to show for it? Well, they've got a better record and the stats are looking good, but division-leading Fresno has kept pace in the win column and still leads the Buzz by three games.

"We can't worry about watching the scoreboard," Roof said. "All we can do is take care of ourself and hopefully the rest will fall into place."

Everything was falling into place Sunday afternoon.

With Sampson throwing five innings and allowing only a pair of runs to cross the plate, and Ohme having his best outing of the season by pitching three innings of one-hit ball, the Buzz had the defensive presence needed. Latham and Corey Koskie did the work at the plate.

Latham followed his game-winning hit from the night before with a 2-for-3 plate performance that included a wind-aided homer that scored three runs in the seventh inning. He also led off the first inning with a double and scored.

"Latham had a big game," Roof said of his center fielder. "He's trying to work his way back up the ladder again."

Koskie was 3-for-3 at the plate with a double.

Still, with the Buzz clearly in a baseball groove, Edmonton didn't go down easily.

The Trappers started the game with a Mark Bellhorn double to the fence in right field. He later scored, and Sampson got a scare as he had the bases loaded before finally getting out of the inning. Edmonton scored again in the third when Mike Niell doubled and was brought home on Jack Voigt's single.

A few more opportunities, including bases loaded in the fourth and runners on second and third in the fifth, proved to be fruitless for the Trappers as Sampson pitched out of the jams.

Ohme took the mound in the sixth and allowed only a liner up the middle. His three innings of work included a pair of strikeouts and forcing six groundball outs.

If not for a late home run by Trapper second baseman Jason Wood, a shot that nailed the fair pole down the left-field line, the Buzz would have cruised to an easy win after a somewhat shaky start.

As it turned out, though, the blast was inconsequential.

BEE LINES: With the home team, the Minnesota Twins, embroiled in interleague play and needing an extra pitcher on staff, second baseman Jon Shave was shipped back to Salt Lake when Bob Tewksbury was reactivated. Mike Moriarty was the odd man out and was sent down to New Britain . . . The Buzz get Monday night off before welcoming the Las Vegas Stars to town for a four-game series starting Tuesday.