SALT LAKE CITY — Games don't count any more or less in the standings in late August than they do in April.
Still, a four-game losing streak when you are in a pennant race with less than three weeks remaining in the season hurts.
The Bees, who were alone in first place in the PCL's Pacific North Division just five days ago, dropped their fourth consecutive game on Saturday night — this one 3-0 against the Sacramento River Cats at Spring Mobile Ballpark.
Fortunately for the Bees, the division-leading Tacoma Rainiers' three-game winning streak was snapped by Reno on Saturday. Even so, Tacoma leads Salt Lake by 2.5 games with just 16 left to play for both teams.
"We've got to start hitting," Bees manager Bobby Mitchell said. "(Giving up) three runs in not a lot. It's a situation where we just need to score."
Salt Lake's loss was despite a strong pitching performance by starter Amalio Diaz, who went seven innings giving up just three runs on five hits. The River Cats scored all three of their runs in the fifth inning after their first three batters each got hits followed by a couple of sacrifices. That was all the offense the River Cats would need.
Sacramento lefty Bobby Cramer had the Bees' number, giving up just two hits — both to Terry Evans — in eight innings.
"Amalio did a good job and (Cramer) did a good job," said Mitchell of the pitchers' duel. "(Cramer) threw a lot of breaking balls and cutters and the ball moved a lot and we hit a lot of ground balls."
Sacramento, meanwhile, is in its own pennant race. The River Cats are now just one game back of South Division-leading Fresno.
The second game of the four-game set will be today at 2 p.m. Salt Lake is scheduled to start Eric Junge (4-1, 4.20 ERA) against Sacramento's Brett Tomko (0-0, 15.88).
BEES WAX: Evans' second inning double was his 95th in Salt Lake uniform. That ties him with former teammate Adam Pavkovich for the most doubles in franchise history. ... Bees first baseman Mark Trumbo leads the PCL with 101 runs batted in. He's the first Salt Lake player to drive in 100-plus runs since current teammate Nick Gorneault had 108 in 2005. ... Attendance at the game, which featured a fireworks show afterward, was a near sellout of 14,718.