Tom Smart, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Nothing like a little excitement to start things off. The Salt Lake Bees scored five times with two outs in the seventh inning en route to a 9-5 win over the Tucson Padres in the season opener for both teams at Spring Mobile Ballpark.
The unusual outburst, fueled by three consecutive walks and a costly fielding error by Tucson, proved decisive as the Bees opened their 20th anniversary season in Utah and at the stadium in memorable fashion.
Chris Snyder brought home the go-ahead run by drawing a bases-loaded walk. The Bees then added three more scores when Padres center fielder Daniel Robertson misplayed a fly ball by Efren Navarro.
The unexpected error was followed by an RBI single from John Hester to close things out for Salt Lake.
“Our guys on offense took advantage of a couple of rare mistakes,” said Bees manager Keith Johnson, who noted that he had never seen Robertson make such a error. “That was fortunate for us. But we made it stick.”
A solo homer by Gregorio Petit in the ninth was Tucson's only response down the stretch.
“I was pleased with the way we carried ourselves tonight — regardless of the score,” Johnson said. “That’s how I am as a manager. All I care about is how our guys go out and compete on a nightly basis.”
Johnson was understandably pleased with what he saw Thursday, noting that the guys put together some good at-bats all night. He also liked the performance of starting pitcher Barry Enright.
The right-hander kept Tucson in check by striking out four of the first seven batters he faced and tossing a shutout for three innings while the Bees built a 4-0 lead.
Kole Calhoun got things started with a run-scoring single in the first. Two innings later, Trent Oeltjen added an RBI double before Chris Snyder singled in two more scores.
Although Tucson answered with a lead-off homer by Jeff Decker in the fourth, the Padres were unable to put any more runs on the board against Enright. He wound up with seven strikeouts and scattered five hits in 5 2/3 innings before being relieved by lefty Mitch Stetter.
Salt Lake’s success was stymied in the seventh, however. That’s when Tucson slugger Rene Rivera belted a three-run homer off of reliever David Carpenter to even things up at 4-4 — setting the scene for a wild and decisive bottom half of the inning.
“It’s one of those things. It happens,” Snyder said. “We took advantage of it tonight. So it’s good.”
The series continues Friday at 6:35 p.m. Salt Lake RHP Billy Buckner and Tucson LHP Sean O’Sullivan are the scheduled starters. O’Sullivan, a former Angels prospect, pitched for the Bees in 2009 and 2010. He began his professional career with Orem in 2006.
EXTRA HITS: The attendance was 8,781. ... Since relocating from Portland in 1994, Salt Lake is now 14-6 in season openers and 12-8 in home-opening games. ... Johnson is the fourth manager in franchise history to be at the helm for at least three seasons, joining Phil Roof (1995-2000), Mike Brumley (2002-04) and Bobby Mitchell (2008-10).
* * * *
Bees 9, Padres 5
In short: Salt Lake scored five runs with two outs in the seventh inning to win the season opener at Spring Mobile Ballpark.
Salt Lake manager Keith Johnson’s take: “Our guys battled and put together some good at-bats.”
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