SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake Bees are officially streaking. The Bees (60-46) won their sixth-straight contest, finishing off a four-game sweep of the Fresno Grizzlies (47-59) 9-4 in front of 6,461 at Spring Mobile Ballpark.
The Bees finished an eight-game home stand with a 6-2 record and in the process overtook Tacoma for the lead in the Pacific Northern Division. Salt Lake is searching for its first playoff berth since 2008.
Andrew Romine started the proceedings with a lead-off home run to left in the bottom of the first against Fresno lefty Mike Kickham (3-7). The dinger extended Romine’s hitting streak to 16 games, a season best for a Bees batter. Kickham was charged with the loss for Fresno after recording just two outs before getting the hook.
Two batters later, outfielder Kole Calhoun walked, and in the process tied a club record by reaching base in 10 consecutive plate appearances. The record was previously owned by catcher Tim McIntosh, set back in August 1994, the franchise's inaugural season in Salt Lake. Calhoun would later score on a wild pitch to put the Bees up 3-0 in the first frame.
Trent Oeltjen added to the home team's lead in the third inning with a three-run shot off the batter's eye in center field to put the Bees comfortably ahead 6-1.
Over the last 10 games, Calhoun has been red hot, hitting .475 with three doubles, one triple, five home runs, 11 RBIs and 11 runs scored. The Arizona State product isn’t just producing at the dish but has been getting it done in the field as well. The center fielder helped out starting pitcher Jarret Grube by robbing Grizzly Joaquin Arias of a sure extra base hit with an incredible diving grab to end the third inning.
Grube (4-4) turned in a solid performance on the mound, giving up just two runs on four hits in seven innings while earning the victory. The right-hander also tied a season-best with eight strikeouts.
“He (Grube) made a couple changes to his delivery to add some rhythm and did a much better job,” said manager Keith Johnson. “He used his fastball way more effectively tonight.”
Salt Lake will be looking to keep the streak going away from home as the club will visit Tucson for the final time for a four-game set. The Padres will be relocating to El Paso following the season. The Bees will return home on July 30 to start an eight-game home stand versus Iowa and Omaha.
Bees 9, Grizzlies 4,
Bees manager Keith Johnson’s take: “Getting the starter out of the game in the first inning was big. When they hit the solo homer and we answered with a three-run homer of our own, it was huge.”
Up next: Today at Tucson, 8:05 p.m. Bees RHP Barry Enright (5-5, 7.13 ERA) vs. Padres RHP Matt Andriese (1-3, 5.40).
Next home stand: July 30 to Aug. 2 vs. Iowa (Cubs); Aug. 3-6 vs. Omaha (Royals)
Kraig Williams is a 2010 Utah State University graduate and regular Deseret News sports blogger. He can be followed on Twitter @DesNewsKraig.