OREM — Unlike the past two games in a three-game series between the Orem Owlz and the Ogden Raptors, this one was decided early.
It seemed appropriate that Ogden scored their three runs in the second and fourth innings Saturday night and came out on top 3-1 in a "backwards night" promotion.
The game featured team and player's names spelled backwards on jerseys, the seventh-inning stretch taking place in the middle in the third inning and the score going from the ninth to the first inning on the scoreboard.
Kristopher Krise (2-6) pitched his best stuff all season and perhaps at the best possible time in going eight solid innings, striking out 10 and allowing three hits.
"He mixed (his pitches) very well," Ogden manager Jeff Carter said of Krise.
A bases-loaded situation with no outs should have given Ogden more one run in the third, but they couldn't put Orem away in the second inning. Two singles and a walk set the scene up, and they only managed to get their run on a fielder's choice from Justin Fuller that scored Alex Garabedian from third. Orem's Michael Anton, a fresh call-up from the Arizona League, struck out two batters and induced a grounder hit right back to him to get out of trouble.
Ogden's effort to add to their lead in the fourth almost misfired when a double-play looked to end any momentum. The Raptors put two runners back on base and Parker Dalton's double off the left-center fence scored them to stretch their lead to 3-0.
Jeremy Moore took one of those runs back for Orem in the bottom half of the inning by taking a home run to right after being served a hanging curve from Krise.
Anton's (0-1) five-inning debut for the Owlz — marred by giving up three runs, but only allowed four hits — kept Orem close.
"He (Anton) basically made two mistakes," Orem manager Tom Kotchman said. "He walked the No. 8 hitter, and then hit got behind 1-0 on the No. 9 hitter and the guy hit a double. There's your ballgame."
Orem catcher Anel De Los Santos kept Ogden from adding to their total in the seventh. Fuller barreled into De Los Santos coming home from third, but De Los Santos held his position in getting the out.
The Raptors closed the gap in their race against Orem for the last playoff spot and are now 3 1/2 games back with six remaining.