SALT LAKE CITY — Just getting to their home opener proved to be a bit of an adventure for the Salt Lake Bees. Things started off early Friday, long before they knocked off the Tucson Padres 5-4 before 6,560 fans at Spring Mobile Ballpark.
After a 13-inning loss at Reno late Thursday night, the Bees returned to their hotel for a little shut-eye before boarding a bus for the airport at 4:45 a.m. A one-hour flight delay followed before the weary team finally arrived in Utah.
The Bees, though, just rolled with the punches.
"It's Triple-A baseball," Salt Lake manager Keith Johnson said while noting that it was also Friday the 13th and some challenges were kind of expected.
The silver lining, however, was getting to town by 10 a.m., giving everyone ample time to settle in before the game.
"It's something that your body just gets used to," Bees first baseman Efren Navarro said of the on-the-fly routine. "It's baseball."
Getting to play at home for the first time this season, though, made this adjustment a little more special.
It hit Navarro when he stepped into the clubhouse.
"Yes," he said. "We're finally home."
After opening the season with eight games on the road, Johnson acknowledged "it was huge" to come home for eight.
"I think it's a big deal," he said.
Johnson explained that it allows the players to get in a personal routine, something the road doesn't offer because of time constraints and other circumstances.
Playing at home, Johnson continued, is also important because it's where the team plays half of the season. It becomes familiar surroundings, he added, complete with white uniforms and walk-up music.
And unlike last season when rain and snow postponed Salt Lake's home opener twice, the franchise's 19th opening in Utah went off as scheduled. Scattered thunderstorms were forecasted, but failed to materialize during the game.
The Bees (formerly known as the Buzz and Stingers) are now 11-8 in home openers.
Highly touted outfielder Mike Trout had the pivotal hit, putting Salt Lake ahead with a two-run triple in the fourth.
"The first couple of bats I was jumping at the ball so I just tried to stay behind it more and put more weight on my back leg," said Trout, who now has a hit in all nine games this season. "I got a good pitch to hit and drove it."
Trout added that it was meaningful to prevail in the home opener.
"Definitely," he said. "A lot of people came out to see us and it was a big win for us."
NOTEBOOK: The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim made their first transaction of the season Friday. They sent infielder Alexi Amarista to Salt Lake and promoted relief pitcher David Carpenter to the majors. … Infielder Luis Jiminez suffered a laceration on his throwing arm in Thursday's loss at Reno and was placed on the seven-day disabled list. RHP Kevin Johnson was called up from Double-A Arkansas to take his spot on Salt Lake's roster. … Minor League Baseball president Pat O'Conner will present a 2011 Rawlings Gold Glove Award to Navarro before Saturday's game.
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