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Stingers stumble again, fall to travel-weary 51s

SHARE Stingers stumble again, fall to travel-weary 51s

51s 10, Stingers 7

It took the Salt Lake Stingers more than two months to secure their first and only winning record of the season.

Eight days later, the accomplishment is becoming a distant memory.

Saturday's 10-7 loss to Las Vegas continued a slide that has the Stingers back to where they were more than one month ago — six games under .500. Five straight losses and eight setbacks in nine outings has Salt Lake (35-41) reeling.

The latest loss proved especially disappointing considering the travel day Las Vegas endured prior to the contest. It began in Edmonton, where the 51s awoke at 3 a.m. after closing out a series with the Trappers Friday night. An early flight to Denver and a change of planes to Salt Lake City followed.

Their equipment, however, did not.

It arrived later—delaying the start of Saturday's game by 45 minutes.

The rest, as it turned out, worked to Las Vegas' advantage.

Though they trailed 1-0 after Alfredo Amezaga stole home in the third and eluded a tag by catcher Koyie Hill, the 51s failed to fall into a deep slumber.

The weary travelers erupted for five runs in the fourth to seize control of the series opener. In the midst of the outburst, which began with a two-run triple by Bubba Crosby and ended with a two RBI double from Rick Bell, Stingers manager Mike Brumley was ejected for arguing with umpire Mark Winters.

He wasn't pleased with a run-scoring hit by Hill that traveled down the third-base line. It was eventually ruled a ground-rule double when it became lodged in a tarp near the Las Vegas bullpen.

Brumley's second ejection of the season failed to spark a long-lasting momentum shift.

After cutting the deficit to 6-2 on a solo homer by Keith Johnson in the bottom of the inning, Salt Lake eventually fell into a game-high seven-run hole.

Solo homers by Utah native Chad Hermansen and Eric Riggs powered a Las Vegas response over the sixth and seventh frames. Joe Thurston and former Stinger Larry Barnes added run-scoring hits to make it 9-2.

A Salt Lake rally followed, but fell short after the seventh-inning stretch. The Stingers put five runs on the board. Julio Ramirez smacked a homer and Amezaga hit an RBI double to get things started. Another run scored on an error before Trent Durrington and Adam Riggs followed with a run-producing single and double, respectively, to close the gap.

Las Vegas retaliated in the ninth when Hermansen, who had a small, but vocal cheering section in the crowd, capped all scoring in the contest with an RBI double.

The four-game series continues today at 2 p.m. Salt Lake RHP Steve Green (6-2, 3.71 ERA) and Las Vegas RHP Masao Kida (1-2, 4.05 ERA) are the scheduled starters.

BEE LINES: Anaheim Angels pitcher Mickey Callaway, who spent most of last season with the Stingers, could return to Salt Lake soon for a two-game major league rehab assignment. He has been on the disabled list since June 6 because of tendinitis in his right shoulder . . . Las Vegas is the top affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers . . . Attendance was 9,355.

E-MAIL: dirk@desnews.com