We’ve got three days to relax, so enjoy these three days and let your body get as close to 100 percent as you can, come back with a fresh mind and a fresh body. – Salt Lake Bees manager on the upcoming All-Star break
For a second straight night, the Pacific Coast League-leading El Paso Chihuahuas overpowered the Salt Lake Bees, winning 11-2 in front of 4,246 fans at Smith’s Ballpark on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon in the final game before the All-Star break.
Austin Hedges led the way for the Chihuahuas with an impressive day, racking up eight RBIs on two three-run home runs and a two-RBI single. Luis Urias hit a solo home run to contribute an RBI, Nick Noonan added an RBI single, and Alexi Amarista added a solo shot as El Paso steamrolled through the Salt Lake pitching staff.
Bees starting pitcher Blayne Weller gave up nine runs — all of them earned — nine hits, four walks and two home runs in three innings pitched, and A.J. Achter and Jose Valdez gave up a run apiece in the loss.
The El Paso pitching staff held Salt Lake to just two runs, with Daniel Moskos giving up both runs.
The Bees will go into the All-Star break with a 42-46 record, 10 games behind first-place El Paso. Salt Lake manager Keith Johnson wants the team to rest, relax and not think about baseball until Thursday.
“Go get away from baseball. We’ve got three days to relax, so enjoy these three days and let your body get as close to 100 percent as you can, come back with a fresh mind and a fresh body,” Johnson said.
After a walk and a hit batter to start the game, Amarista and Urias completed a double steal — stealing third and second base, respectively. Hedges singled to center field, scoring Amarista and Urias to put the Chihuahuas up 2-0.
In the second, Noonan singled into center field, scoring Amarista to increase the El Paso lead to three. Hedges followed that with a three-run homer that landed just fair on the left-field berm, giving him five RBIs on the day and giving the Chihuahuas an early 6-0 lead.
In the third, Hedges hit another three-run dinger — his sixth, seventh and eighth RBIs of the afternoon — and El Paso had put up nine runs in three innings.
The Chihuahuas got their tenth run on a solo homer by Urias that cleared the wall in right-centerfield during the fifth inning. The round-tripper was Urias’ first with the Chihuahuas.
Salt Lake got on the board in the bottom of the eighth after Nick Buss hit a ball to the left-field corner that hopped over the wall for a ground-rule double, scoring Brendan Ryan. Kaleb Cowart followed that with a sacrifice fly, scoring Quintin Berry to put the score at 10-2.
In the top of the ninth, on a 2-2 count, Amarista hit a solo homer to put El Paso up by nine.
All-Star action: Salt Lake infielder Kaleb Cowart will play in the Triple-A All-Star Game on Wednesday, July 13, in Charlotte, North Carolina. Coming into the All-Star Game, Cowart is batting .279 with four home runs, 36 RBIs, 21 doubles, four triples and 40 runs in 71 games with the Bees.
Three former Bees will play in the MLB All-Star Game on Tuesday, July 12, in San Diego. Mike Trout, representing the Angels, played with Salt Lake for 20 games in 2012. Also selected to his final All-Star Game is David Ortiz, who appeared in 151 games from 1997 to 1999 for the Salt Lake Buzz, then affiliated with the Minnesota Twins. On the AL reserve roster for the All-Star Game is Mark Trumbo, who played in 139 contests with the Bees in 2010.
Chihuahuas — 11
In short: Austin Hedges racked up eight RBIs on two three-run home runs and a two-RBI single as the El Paso Chihuahuas steamrolled the Salt Lake Bees in the final game before the All-Star break 11-2.
Up next: Salt Lake at Omaha, Thursday, 6:05 p.m.