Well, it certainly wasn’t a pitcher’s duel between the Salt Lake Bees and Las Vegas 51s on Thursday evening. With 28 runs and 34 hits collectively between the teams, the fans at Smith’s Ballpark were treated with offensive outbursts from both teams, but unfortunately for the Bees, Las Vegas’ outburst was just a little bit bigger.
Scoring 10 runs in the first two innings, the 51s never looked back, stealing the series finale 20-8 over Salt Lake to drop the Bees' overall season record to 29-45. This was the first time that Salt Lake has given up 20-plus runs since May 30, 2012, when it lost 22-8 to Colorado Springs.
Starting things off, let’s just say the Bees have had better innings. Salt Lake got off to a horrid start in the first inning when the 51s jumped all over starting pitcher Alex Sanabia. Before an out was even recorded, Sanabia had already surrendered consecutive singles followed by a three-run jack to left, as well as a walk.
As catcher Jett Bandy made multiple visits throughout the frame, things didn’t get much better as another single, walk and a hit-by-pitch led to another run, putting the Bees into an early 4-0 hole after a single inning.
After no retaliation from Salt Lake in the bottom half, the 51s picked up right where they left off in the second. Sanabia continued to struggle with his command, registering two more walks and another hit-by-pitch before it was time to call it quits for the right-hander after just 1 1/3 innings of work.
Unfortunately for the Bees, things didn’t get much better for replacement pitcher Kurt Spomer. Already in a tight situation, he came in and immediately walked the first batter he faced, followed by a single and double to left respectively, bringing in a few more runs to push the Las Vegas lead to 10-0 in just the second inning.
So after two innings between the two pitchers, Las Vegas recorded 10 runs, eight hits, five walks and two hit-by-pitch. It was no surprise that the next inning Spomer was pulled, especially after the 51s batted around the entire lineup for consecutive innings (they did it again later in the contest in the seventh inning).
Again, the Bees could not put anything on the board when it was their turn at the plate. In fact, they couldn’t even get a hit. Las Vegas pitcher Dillon Gee was pitching a perfect game before Bandy broke it up in the bottom of the third with a slow-rolling single that just barely escaped the outstretched arm of the Las Vegas second baseman.
But it was the fourth inning where the Bees were finally able to break through the threshold and put some numbers on the scoreboard. With Ryan Jackson sitting on second after a double, former Ute and first baseman C.J. Cron lined his own two-bagger to left field to gives Salt Lake its first run of the contest.
The Bees weren’t done there. The next batter, Roger Kieschnick, took advantage of a poor pitch from Gee and sent it over the right-field wall for a two-run homer, his ninth of the season. Four batters, a walk and a single later, third baseman Kaleb Cowart stepped up to the plate and hit a home run, this time for three runs, to cut the deficit to just four runs.
Unfortunately for the Bees, they lost their hot bats shortly after, while the 51s maintained theirs. In the seventh inning, it seemed as if Salt Lake would get out of the frame unscathed with two quick outs, but instead, after three consecutive singles and a double, Las Vegas’ right fielder Travis Taijeron sent a three-run homer to dead-away center, the fourth home run of the ballgame, to push the 51s' lead to 10.
With the game well out of hand at this point, there wasn’t much action in the remaining innings as the Bees went down quietly, though they did score a run in the bottom of the seventh. Salt Lake will start a four-game series on Friday with Albuquerque here at Smith’s Ballpark.
GAME NOTES: The Bees used a total of seven pitchers throughout the contest. … Only Jackson and Cron had multi-hit games for Salt Lake. … Each team committed one error. … The attendance was 6,034. … The 51s are the Triple-A affiliate of the New York Mets.