Sevens are usually considered lucky. Seven-inning games, however, proved not to be so lucky for the Salt Lake Stingers on Sunday.
The Stingers dropped two of them to the Fresno Grizzlies in a doubleheader made necessary by Friday's rainout. The Grizzlies took the opener 6-5 and then followed with an 11-6 victory in the nightcap.
Salt Lake starter Brandon Emanuel also failed to stop his franchise-record losing streak by dropping his eighth straight decision.
Salt Lake was 8-1 against the Grizzlies this year coming into Sunday, but poor pitching by the Stingers prevented the team from continuing its dominance over Fresno.
After Stinger Jason Middlebrook gave the club the longest outing of the year by a starter in Saturday's 6-1 victory over Fresno, neither one of Salt Lake's starting pitchers made it to the fifth inning in the doubleheader.
Righthander Chris Bootcheck gave up six runs and eight hits in four innings in the opener to drop his record to 3-4 on the year, while Emanuel gave up four runs in the first and was yanked after three innings, trailing 4-1. Emanuel is 0-4 this year and hasn't won a game in thirteen decisions since June 30 last year.
"Dropping a doubleheader is always tough," Salt Lake manager Mike Brumley said. "We've been getting behind the 8-ball right away, and we don't have the type of offense that's going to hit three-run home runs."
Brumley's frustrations continue as Alex Pelaez, leading Salt Lake in RBIs and batting average, pulled a hamstring running to first base in the second game. The club will find out Monday how serious the injury is. Pelaez went 2-for-4 with two RBIs in the first game.
"Everything that can go wrong is going wrong," Brumley said. "We're trying not to get too down, get too flat. If we don't play a real good, almost perfect game, we're in trouble."
In the first game, Fresno third baseman Lance Niekro drove in three runs.
Trailing 6-2 in the fifth of the opener, Stinger right fielder Brian Gordon tripled and scored on a fielder's choice. Jake Thrower singled, setting up recent Stinger addition Curtis Pride's 420-foot line drive over the center field fence to bring Salt Lake within one run, but that's where the rally ended. The Stingers put the tying run on board in each of the final two frames but couldn't bring it around.
Fresno got on the board early in the second game, scoring four runs off Salt Lake starter Brandon Emanuel in the first. Fresno's Todd Linden led off with a double and the Grizzlies batted around in the innning. Emanuel, who last won a decision on June 30 last year, didn't give up any more runs but Fresno hitters got to him for nine hits in his three innings. Salt Lake's relief pitching wasn't any better, as the Grizzlies tacked on three runs against reliever Derrick Turnbow, and added four more in the seventh against Joel Peralta.
Grizzly Tony Torcato brought in three of those runs with a bases-clearing double.