Buzz 8, Canadians 7A three-letter word is making the rounds in the Salt Lake Buzz clubhouse these days. Twelve victories in 16 games and four consecutive winning series will do that to a team.
"I think everybody's having fun," said infielder Jeff Ferguson. "It's fun to win. Everybody is picking each other up."
On Friday, it was the batters who provided the lift. With two outs in the bottom of the 11th inning, David Ortiz belted a two-run double down the left-field line as the Buzz defeated Vancouver 8-7 at Franklin Covey Field.
"It was an important win," said Buzz manager Phil Roof. "It lets everyone know we're here."
The game-ending hit allowed Salt Lake to overcome Chris Sheff's RBI double off the wall that had put Vancouver ahead.
"We had a lot of big two-out hits. That showed we didn't give up," added Roof. "We kept battling."
The Buzz improved to 34-36 and remain just 2 1/2 games behind South Division-leading Fresno.
This one wasn't easy.
Eddie Williams gave Salt Lake new life in the 10th when he led off with a home run. The shot matched one by Brian Lesher during Vancouver's at-bat.
The Buzz never trailed before the blast, though, on several occasions they were fit to be tied.
Salt Lake took a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning when Brian Buchanan homered. Vancouver, however, eventually erased the deficit. Frank Menechino's RBI double in the fifth and Ramon Hernandez's solo homer in the sixth evened the score.
The Buzz broke the deadlock in the bottom of the inning when A.J. Pierzynski and Darrell Nicholas each drove in runs with two-out doubles. Pierzynski's hit put Salt Lake ahead before Nicholas added two more runs to make it 5-2.
Buzz relievers, though, simply couldn't close the door on Vancouver.
Kevin Ohme, who replaced starter Rob Radlosky in the sixth inning, was pulled in the seventh with two on and no outs. Jeff Harris inherited the situation and promptly compounded it with a walk. Menechino then drove in a run with a sacrifice fly before Scott Spiezio followed with an RBI triple.
As bad as it was, things could have been worse.
Jason McDonald was thrown out at second on Menechino's drive to right field when Buchanan made a quick throw. McDonald threw his helmet in frustration and was ejected. Spiezio's subsequent hit led to Gus Gandarillas' entrance into the game. The right-hander then got Hernandez to ground out -- ending the inning with the Buzz clinging to a one-run lead.
An inning later, the separation was gone. Jeff Ball's RBI single off Gandarillas in the eighth once again tied the score and eventually forced extra innings.
Salt Lake's homestand continues today at 7:05 p.m. when it opens a four-game series with Las Vegas (San Diego Padres). Buzz RHP Shane Bowers (3-0, 5.81 ERA) and Stars LHP Shane Dennis (2-4, 4.82 ERA) are the scheduled starters.
BEE LINES: The attendance was 8,097 . . . Utah Jazz center Greg Ostertag will coach first base for Salt Lake on Saturday night. Teammate Jeff Hornacek was among the guests in owner Joe Buzas' suite Friday . . . Former Dodgers great Ron Cey is in town to see his son, Buzz second baseman Dan Cey.