SALT LAKE CITY — The Rainiers defeated the Bees 4-1 in extra innings Saturday night and in the process squashed any early Pioneer Days celebrations. Tacoma starter Zach Lee threw seven innings of one-run baseball, with seven strikeouts, and Stefen Romero hit a three-run homer to lead the visitors to victory.
Lee and Bees starter Chris Jones engaged in a pitching duel early, with both pitchers dominating to the tune of 10 combined scoreless innings.
The Rainiers broke through against Jones in the sixth. Guillermo Heredia hit an RBI single that scored Tyler Smith and gave Tacoma a 1-0 lead.
Sherman Johnson tied the game in the bottom of the sixth with a solo home run to right field. It was Johnson’s fifth homer of the season and put him in a tie with Kaleb Cowart for second most for the Bees. His home run also put him in rare company. Johnson became only the third Bee this season, along with Cowart and Jefry Marte, to hit multiple home runs at home.
The Rainiers took the lead for good in the 11th inning on a three-run blast by Romero. With two men on and two outs, Romero crushed a 3-2 pitch by Bees reliever Mike Morin well over the left field fence to give Tacoma a 4-1 advantage.
The Bees tried to mount a comeback in the bottom of the 11th but came up short when Ryan Jackson struck out, stranding two men to give the Bees a total of nine base runners left on base on the evening.
GETTING DIZZY: 62 different players have donned the Bees uniform this season, a mere seven off the club record of 69, which was set in 2014. Coincidentally, 31 pitchers and 31 position players have suited up for Salt Lake.
The newest arrival, catcher Angel Genao, was part of a flurry of recent catcher movement within the Angels organization. Carlos Perez, who was in the midst of a rehab assignment with Salt Lake, was recalled by the Angels Saturday. Genao was assigned to Salt Lake Friday from the Orem Owlz and arrived in the middle of Friday night's contest. Juan Graterol, who served as the injury replacement for Perez in Los Angeles, was optioned to Salt Lake Saturday.
FIRST IMPRESSION: Genao made his Triple-A debut Friday night when he pinch hit for outfielder Cal Towey in the bottom of the ninth. In his sole at-bat, Genao hit an RBI double and later in the inning scored on an RBI single by Anthony Bemboom.
A product of the Dominican Republic, Genao has played for three teams this season, the Orem Owlz (the rookie-level affiliate of the Angels), the Burlington Bees (the Angels' Single-A affiliate), and the Salt Lake Bees.