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Bees can't overcome hot Tacoma start, lose 7-6

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SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake Bees fought tooth and nail, but couldn’t overcome a fast start from the Tacoma Rainiers as they fell, 7-6, in front of a sellout crowd of 14,511 on Friday night at Smith’s Ballpark.

Tacoma scored seven runs in the first four innings. Bees starting pitcher Daniel Wright gave up five of those runs, while the other two runs were unearned, due to Salt Lake catcher Carlos Perez dropping a popped-up ball by Taylor Motter. Motter would go on to triple and score.

“Obviously, it wasn’t what he wanted, the results weren’t what he wanted. He’s a competitor, he’s going to continue to put the work in and we’re going to keep throwing him out there. I have every confidence in the world, like I always say, I have all the confidence in the world in everybody in that clubhouse,” Johnson said of Wright's performance.

Salt Lake rallied, scoring two runs in the first inning and two runs in the fourth. The Bees narrowed the gap to two after a Sherman Johnson RBI single in the eighth inning. In the bottom of the ninth, Salt Lake pulled out all the stops to try and win. The Bees loaded the bases, thanks to a walk, a stolen base, a batter hit by a pitch and a single, but with two outs, Johnson struck out to end the game.

“It’s good to see us do that (rally). That’s not a bad team over there (Tacoma), they can play the game, so for us to claw back and get ourselves into position to have the winning run on base and the tying run a couple times where we just didn’t get the big hit, it’s a tribute to the guys and how hard they’re playing, and the sense of urgency they have to try and make sure that we win as many ballgames as we can,” Bees manager Keith Johnson said.

ERRORS APLENTY: Prior to Friday’s contest, Salt Lake had committed 84 errors, third-least in the Pacific Coast League. Against Tacoma on Friday, the Bees committed three errors through four innings.

WRONG WAY: Bees starting pitcher Daniel Wright made his 17th start of the season on Friday. Wright struggled against the Rainiers as Tacoma, averaging 4.72 runs per game, exploded for seven runs in the first four innings of the contest. Prior to Friday’s game, Tacoma was hitting .385 against Wright. The Bartlett, Tennessee native ended the night with a line of nine hits, seven runs (five earned), one walk, two strikeouts and one home run allowed.

BOMBS AWAY: Salt Lake continued its streak of home runs in August as Eric Young Jr. hit a two-run bomb to right field in the bottom of the fourth. The ball traveled an estimated 400 feet. It was Young Jr.’s eighth home run of the season with the Bees and extended Salt Lake’s number of consecutive games with a home run to seven.

400 FOR KJ: Bees manager Keith Johnson’s victory on Thursday night was his 400th with Salt Lake. KJ, as Johnson is known to the players, is in his sixth year of managing the Bees.

NEVER LEAVE EARLY: Salt Lake leads the Pacific Coast League in comeback wins in 2017. When trailing after six innings, the Bees have rallied to win a league-leading 13 games, including Thursday night’s comeback victory over Tacoma.

BEELINES

Rainiers — 7

Bees — 6

In short: The Salt Lake Bees had the winning run on second in the bottom of the ninth, but couldn't overcome an early offensive onslaught by the Tacoma Rainiers, falling 7-6 on Friday.

Record: 64-62

Next up: Salt Lake RHP Osmer Morales (2-0, 3.00 ERA) at Las Vegas RHP Jonathan Albaladejo (1-2, 4.75 ERA), Saturday, 8:05 p.m.

Email: jcoles@deseretnews.com

Twitter: JoeAColes