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Bees' Mills silences former teammates

SALT LAKE CITY — Brad Mills picked up where Matt Shoemaker left off on Monday night with a solid outing on the mound to lead the Bees to the 3-2 victory over the visiting 51s on Tuesday.

After his brief stint this past weekend with the Los Angeles Angels, Mills kept the pitching vibe positive by delivering 93 pitches — 56 of them strikes — through seven innings, allowing one earned run and four hits.

Mills is no stranger to the Las Vegas squad, having played for the 51s last season and going 3-0 against the Bees. Mills had praise for his former teammates, but also admitted that it's business and taking a victory is all that really matters.

"You're going to war every day with the same guys, everyone has each other's back, so it was definitely different to actually recognize and know the guys when they stepped into the box," Mills said.

Mills acknowledged the trade as a "great change of scenery" and definitely has no regrets about making the transition to Salt Lake City.

"I was ecstatic right off the bat," admitted Mills, claiming that the Angels were a big draw to his career path.

"The Angels have spring training in Arizona where I'm from, and I really like the way the coaching staff up there in the big leagues goes at it and I dig their style of baseball."

Having not pitched a game in a Bees uniform since April 8, Mills said it was no big deal getting back into the swing of things.

"I battled through a couple innings and a couple batters, but to get through seven against a good lineup like (Las Vegas) I'll take that any day," he said.

Salt Lake pitching coach Erik Bennett credits the relationships the players are developing as the success the team has been having on the mound.

"It goes to the pitcher/catcher relationship that those guys are building right now, and the way they are working ahead in the counts," noted Bennett.

With a solid 9-4 start to the season, some might wonder if the time may be coming when the Angels start dipping into the talent pool the Bees' bullpen has to offer. Salt Lake has given up a total of just seven runs in the past three games combined and one of the hottest teams in the league through April.

Bennett admitted that a professional attitude is maintained when it comes to call-ups.

"A lot of them look at it as they're still in the mind of the big club and haven't been forgotten," said Bennett, who finished by saying, "Any opportunity to go up to the big leagues is still a big deal."

NOTEBOOK: Hank Conger and Ryan Langerhans both had a stolen base last night, Conger's first since 2009. As a team, the Bees have now stolen 15 bases this season, which is second most in the PCL behind Omaha with 16.

STILL STREAKING: Mike Trout reached first base on a bunt in his first at-bat, extending his hit streak to 13 straight Triple-A contests. Trout is the only player in the PCL that has hit safely in each of his team's first 13 games this season. Conger smacked a single in the bottom of the fifth and now has a 10-game hitting streak with four of those being multiple-hit games.

ATTENDANCE: 3,091 fans enjoyed a cool crisp evening of baseball at Spring Mobile Ballpark on Tuesday night. The Bees improved to 4-1 at home and are 8-2 in their last 10 games.

email: cjohnson@desnews.com