After winning three of four games against fellow division front runner Reno, the Salt Lake Bees struggled to slow down the bats of the Las Vegas 51’s (AAA affiliate of the New York Mets) as they were only able to manage a 2-2 series split with the Pacific Southern Division’s last-place team. The split gave Salt Lake a 5-3 record during the home stand and improved the Bees to a 47-37 overall record. Salt Lake takes a six and a half game lead over Albuquerque on the road as the Bees head to Fresno for a three game series before traveling to El Paso for three more games with the Chihuahuas. Salt Lake will then enjoy some rest during the All-Star break before heading back home for a four-game series with Sacramento at Smith’s Ballpark.
Game 1: Salt Lake 6, Las Vegas 10
— Las Vegas 51s (@LasVegas51s) July 1, 2017
A pair of three-run homers from Las Vegas propelled the 51’s to a win in game one of the four-game series in Salt Lake City. Bees’ starting pitcher Daniel Wright had a rough outing from the get go after Las Vegas’ Kevin Plawecki homered in the top of the first with two men on to give the 51’s an early 3-0 lead. Cesar Puello sent a solo shot into right field to cut the Las Vegas lead to 3-1 in the second, but the 51’s would answer right back in the top of the third with another three-run home run from Josh Rodriguez to begin to pull away from the Bees. Trailing 8-1 going to the bottom of the fifth, Salt Lake would mount a rally attempt after Tony Sanchez and Matt Williams each reached base to lead off the home half of the inning. Shane Robinson would then pelt a triple over the head of Las Vegas center fielder Victor Cruzado to make the score 8-3 and Kaleb Cowart would follow one batter later with an RBI single to make it 8-4. It looked like the Salt Lake comeback attempt would continue in the fifth after C.J. Cron reached on a HBP, but a Cesar Puello pop-out followed by a Ramon Flores strikeout would end the inning prematurely for the fans in attendance. The Bees would creep closer after scoring a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth thanks to a two-run single by Cowart, but the 51’s would pull away for good in the seventh. With their lead widdled down to 8-6, third baseman Gavin Cecchini headed to the plate with Jio Mier on at first base. Cecchini then ripped a triple into center field to score Mier before a throwing error by Cowart allowed Cecchini to trot home from third to grow the lead to 10-6. The Bees would fail to record a hit from the bottom of the seventh onward as they surprisingly dropped game one against the last-place team in the division.
Game 2: Salt Lake 6, Las Vegas 3
— Salt Lake Bees (@SaltLakeBees) July 2, 2017
The Bees outhit Las Vegas 11-6 in game two and rode a strong performance from the bullpen late to even the series at a game apiece on Utah Jazz night. After giving up the lead early in game one, Salt Lake drew first blood Saturday night when Ramon Flores and Carlos Perez each picked up an RBI to take a 2-0 lead heading into the second. With John Lamb dealing early in his first career start as a Bee, Salt Lake doubled their lead in the bottom of the second when Flores drove in his second and third runners of the night with a two-run triple to center field. Rey Navarro was able to inch the lead to 5-0 in the fourth with an RBI single before the 51’s were able to get their first run across in the fifth thanks to an RBI double from Phillip Evans. Jo Mier kept the rally going in the fifth with an RBI single to score Evans, but Lamb was able to force Gavin Cecchini into a ground-out with two men on to end the threat. Las Vegas’ comeback opportunity came in the top of the seventh when Mike Morin replaced Lamb on the mound with a 6-2 lead, but Morin retired five of the seven batters he faced in two innings of work to keep the 51’s at bay. Justin Miller relieved Morin in the ninth and allowed a lead off solo homer from Travis Taijeron to make the score 6-3, but he responded by retiring the next three Las Vegas batters in order to give the home crowd (including 7’1″ Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert) something to celebrate.
— Salt Lake Bees (@SaltLakeBees) July 2, 2017
Game 3: Salt Lake 7, Las Vegas 12
— MiLB.com (@MiLB) July 3, 2017
The Bees batted around in the first inning to take an early 4-0 lead, but Las Vegas used an explosive inning of their own in the third before pulling away in the eighth to claim game three at Smith’s Ballpark. After Cesar Puello put Salt Lake up 5-0 with an RBI single in the bottom of the second, the 51’s got off to a hot start in the third when Phillip Evans and Gavin Cecchini reached base before Amed Rosario put their first runs on the board with a two-run triple. Travis Taijeron and Jayce Boyd would also record RBI hits in the inning to tie the game at 5-5 before Las Vegas took the lead on a Rosario sac-fly that scored Victor Cruzado to make the score 6-5. The top of the fourth continued for the 51’s as a throwing error by Salt Lake’s Jefry Marte allowed Cecchini to score before Josh Rodriguez finished the scoring for Las Vegas with an RBI double that would grow thier lead to 9-5. Puello pelted his 11th homer of the season over the left field wall to reel a run back in the fifth, but another error from Marte in the sixth would give the 51’s the run back as Taijeron was able to score and give the 51’s their 10th run of the night. Las Vegas would score two more runs in the top of the eighth via a walk-in and a fielder’s choice to go up 12-6 and Salt Lake would score their final run on a Shane Robinson RBI single in the bottom of the eighth, but it wasn’t enough as the Bees fell for the third time in four nights.
Game 4: Salt Lake 8, Las Vegas 6
— Salt Lake Bees (@SaltLakeBees) July 4, 2017
After falling behind 3-0 through two and a half innings, the Bees scored at least one run in every remaining inning as Salt Lake salvaged a 2-2 series split with Las Vegas before hitting the road. Trailing 3-1 in the fourth, Cesar Puello hit his second homer in as many nights to tie the game at 3-3 before the Bees took their first lead of the night in the fifth off a C.J. Cron sac-fly that scored Shane Robinson. A Jefry Marte RBI double in the sixth pushed the lead to 5-3 and Cron would grow the lead further in the seventh with another sac-fly that scored Ramon Flores to make it 6-3 Salt Lake. Relief pitcher Jose Alvarez would gift the 51’s a run in the eighth with a wild pitch that allowed Josh Rodriguez to trot home, but a two-run bomb from Dustin Ackley in the eighth would regain a comfortable lead for the Bees. There would be one last four-bagger on the night when Las Vegas’ Dominic Smith blasted his 10th homer of the season over the wall in right field, but Salt Lake closer Justin Miller would retire the next three batters in order to close out the game and send the crowd home happy after one last fireworks show at the ballpark.
You thought this fireworks finale was good on Saturday? Wait until you see what we've got tonight. pic.twitter.com/Kv6adcz7Qc
— Salt Lake Bees (@SaltLakeBees) July 3, 2017