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Salt Lake Bees battle back to .500 with win over Portland

SHARE Salt Lake Bees battle back to .500 with win over Portland

SALT LAKE CITY — Bases on balls are not particularly exciting plays in baseball, but they were a thing of beauty for the Salt Lake Bees on Sunday afternoon at Spring Mobile Ballpark.

Salt Lake scored three straight runs in the bottom of the seventh inning against the Portland Beavers on Sunday without putting a bat on the baseball. The result was a 10-5 victory.

Salt Lake's third straight win improves its record to 11-11 — the first time the Bees have been .500 all season. It's been a long road back after the team lost its first two games of the season in Las Vegas.

"We're back to .500 and we've had to battle to get there," said Bees manager Bobby Mitchell. "Hopefully we are getting over some growing pains and can get on a winning streak."

It looked for a time like Salt Lake was going to waste a strong pitching performance by starter Trevor Bell, who left the game after the sixth inning with a 4-2 lead. The Beavers scored three runs in the top of the seventh off Salt Lake reliever Francisco Rodriguez to take a one-run lead.

But three straight singles by Kevin Frandsen, Michael Ryan and Cory Aldridge off of Portland reliever Adam Russell knotted the score, 5-5, in the bottom of the seventh.

After getting a strikeout for the second out of the inning, Russell then loaded the bases by walking Bees catcher Hank Conger. It only got worse from there for Russell. He gave up a base on balls to Peter Bourjos to give Salt Lake a 6-5 lead. Then, with the bases still loaded, he hit shortstop Gary Patchett with a pitch to allow another run to cross the plate. Another walk — this one on four straight pitches to Nate Sutton — gave Salt Lake its final run of the inning.

"We could have had a big letdown after we gave up three runs to let them take the lead, but we showed something by coming back," said Mitchell. "Their pitcher struggled, but we had to start the rally by getting a couple of hits."

Bell, making just his second start of the season after coming back from injury, gave up just a pair of runs on five hits with four strikeouts in six innings.

"I've been working on a few things with (Bees pitching coach Erik Bennett) on my days off and I think the command of my slider was good today so that made my fastball better," said Bell.

Salt Lake's top offensive player was Aldridge, who went 3-for-5 with four RBIs.

The Bees start an eight-game road trip Monday night in Sacramento.

BEES WAX: Patchett's inability to field a ground ball cleanly in the third inning was the Bees' first error in 11 games. The 10-game errorless streak was tied for the longest in franchise history, previously accomplished in 1995. . . . Aldridge's homer in Game 1 on Saturday was the pinch-hit grand slam in franchise history. The Bees pinch hitters are now 4-for-4 this season — which is already better than all of last season. The Bees pinch hitters went 3-for-24 in 2009.

e-mail: lojo@desnews.com