SALT LAKE CITY — It took a few innings, but the Salt Lake Bees eventually started rounding the bases.
It was in the bottom of the fourth when the bats came alive and the Bees took their first lead en route to an 8-5 victory over the New Orleans Zephyrs at Spring Mobile Ballpark on Thursday evening.
"We started out flat, and good pitching will make you flat," Bees manager Keith Johnson said of his team's start. "Once we started hitting and moving around the bases, it became contagious."
The Bees opened the game with two fielding errors, spotting the Zephyrs to unearned runs. Salt Lake right fielder Cory Aldridge retaliated with a third-inning home run to center field to put the Bees on the board with a score of 3-1.
Finally, the Bees started to get things rolling. Luis Jimenez doubled to start the fourth and Efren Navarro followed suit with his own two-bagger, scoring Jimenez. Aldridge added a sacrifice fly and then Ed Lucas tripled up the first-base line to add another run, making the score 4-3.
"It has been somewhat of a roller-coaster season for (Lucas)," Johnson said of how the short stop has responded to moving into the lineup as other players are called up. "He has found his role for us, and he has done a great job."
New Orleans rallied with two runs in the sixth to re-take the lead, but the Bees had additional surges at the plate in the bottom of the seventh and eighth innings to gain control for good.
Lucas was the star of the evening as he got the Bees going with a 4-for-4 performance, adding a run and an RBI. Starting pitcher Matt Shoemaker struck out six batters in six innings and then Francisco Rodriguez came in to earn the win in one inning of work.
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Bees manager Keith Johnson's take: His favorite part of the back-and-forth game: "We won."
Up next: vs. New Orleans, tonight, 7:05 p.m. Zephyrs RHP Brad Hand (8-5, 3.66) vs. Bees RHP Eddie McKiernan (5-3, 7.34).
Next homestand: Today through Aug. 8