SALT LAKE CITY — With the sun beating down and temperatures nearing 70 degrees, it was an all-American type of day at Smith’s Ballpark on Sunday afternoon.
But with spectators watching from their blankets beyond the outfield fence, a close game turned into a rout as the Salt Lake Bees dropped their ninth straight game 15-7 to the Sacramento River Cats.
Despite the eight-run difference, Bees manager Dave Anderson is trying to stay positive.
“Close ball game until the sixth inning,” Anderson said.
With the game taking place in the afternoon, there was no firework display following the game, but the fans in attendance received a show anyway.
Between the two teams, there were a combined 35 hits, including 18 extra-base ones. Sacramento even cracked the 20-hit plateau by mustering up 21 hits, highlighted by three home runs.
Adam Duvall did the most damage for the River Cats, hitting for the coveted cycle by recording a single, double, triple and home run. Duvall was the first player to hit for the cycle against the Bees since 2011, and it was just the second time for an opponent here in Salt Lake.
“Ran into a pretty hot hitter, and (Duvall) seemed to come up a lot with men in scoring position and took advantage of it,” Anderson said.
Through the first four innings, Salt Lake was still in the thick of things, tying the game up at three apiece courtesy of a Carlos Perez double in the bottom of the fourth.
However, it didn’t take long for the River Cats to find their groove, scoring three-plus runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings. During that span, Sacramento recorded three triples and two home runs.
The Bees put together a run of their own, scoring three runs in the bottom of the seventh, but the River Cat offense proved to be too much. Neither team scored a run in the ninth, clinching the victory for Sacramento.
Following the loss, Anderson said that for his team to change its fortunes the Bees need to eliminate giving up big innings, especially with two outs on the board.
Luckily for them, Anderson has a formula that he hopes will solve that problem Monday night in the final game of the series with Sacramento.
“How you stay away from big innings is don’t walk people, don’t make mistakes defensively,” Anderson said.
GAME NOTES: Six Bees tied for a team-high with two hits . . . The attendance was 5,169 . . . Both teams used six pitchers each . . . Sacramento is the top affiliate of the San Francisco Giants.