Buzz 13, Stars 3
Salt Lake took the Fifth Monday and it paid off. After letting two games with Las Vegas slip away in the final innings, Buzz manager Phil Roof didn't give his team a motivational speech -- just a gentle reminder to do the little things."We've got a job to do, so let's get it done, that's all I told them," Roof said after Salt Lake's 13-3 win at Franklin Covey Field. "Sometimes the less you say the better."
The Buzz responded with 14 hits, including four home runs, to snap a two-game losing skid.
The Buzz overcame a deficit and pulled away from the Stars with a seven-run fifth inning and back-to-back homers by Midre Cummings and David Ortiz in the sixth. For insurance on top of insurance, Dan Cey (sacrifice fly) and Brian Buchanan (bases-loaded walk) contributed RBIs in the seventh and Eddie Williams with his second solo homer of the night in the eighth.
Cummings, Williams and Jeff Ferguson, who is now 7 of 12 with the bases loaded over the past two seasons, each drove in two runs during the decisive outburst in the fifth. Buchanan added an RBI single as Salt Lake displayed power at the plate.
"We turned things around tonight," said Roof. "Our offense took over."
The Buzz, who added two more runs in the seventh and one in the eighth, improved to 35-38 overall and trail South Division frontrunner Fresno by just 2 1/2 games. Left-hander Gary Rath started for Salt Lake in his first day back in the minors. He was 0-1 with an 11.57 ERA in 4 2/3 innings during a stint with the parent Minnesota Twins that began on May 21. After a scoreless first inning, Las Vegas marked Rath's return with a pair of runs in the second. Jimmy Gonzalez's RBI double was followed by a run-scoring groundout from Juan Melo. Rath left the game after four complete innings.
"Considering it was the first time he's thrown from a wind-up in more than a month he did OK," said Roof, who plans to ease Rath into the rotation. When Rath left for the big leagues, he had a Buzz-best 3.33 ERA.
Trailing 2-0, Salt Lake cut the margin in half when Williams ripped the first of two home runs into the centerfield screen. It put the Buzz on the board, but it failed to ignite any additional firepower in the second.
Two innings later, Las Vegas regained its two-run edge on a groundout by Gonzalez. Once the lead changed hands, however, the Stars twinkled no more. The Buzz, meanwhile, couldn't stop shining. "We put it to them tonight," said Williams. "And hopefully, we can do it again tomorrow."
Salt Lake's 12-game homestand concludes Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. Buzz LHP Mark Redman (6-4, 4.87 ERA) and Stars LHP Shane Dennis (2-4, 4.82 ERA) are the scheduled starters in the series finale.
BEE LINES: The attendance was 7,739 . . . To make room for Rath, LHP Alan Mahaffey was sent back to Double-A New Britain . . . Former Utah Starzz coach Denise Taylor was among the guests in Buzz owner Joe Buzas' suite . . . Utah Jazz guard Jeff Hornacek is slated to coach first base for Salt Lake Tuesday . . . Plenty of tickets remain for the July 4 home game with Las Vegas featuring postgame fireworks . . . Las Vegas infielder Carlos Baerga, a former major league all-star, is expected to be called up to the parent San Diego Padres Tuesday.