SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake Bees used a big night at the plate to pick up a win over Las Vegas, 10-8, at Spring Mobile Ballpark Saturday evening.
The Bees (74-54) scored their 10 runs on 10 hits and totaled 10 RBIs, maintaining the best record in the Pacific Coast League as well as a substantial lead over the Tacoma Rainiers for the top spot in the Pacific Northern Conference.
The Bees had five extra-base hits, including four doubles along with a triple from Scott Cousins. They grabbed an early lead with two runs in both the second and third innings, and then surged ahead with four more runs in the fourth inning.
“Our guys did a good job of getting their starter out of the game early and then the big four-spot that got started with two outs and nobody on — that was huge,” said Bees manager Keith Johnson.
Drew Heid and Matt Long got things started in that big inning, each drawing walks. Tommy Field loaded the bases when he was hit by a pitch, and then Luis Jimenez hit a bases-clearing double. Efren Navarro followed with an RBI single to give Salt Lake an 8-1 lead.
“His batting average has been at the top of the league all year,” Johnson said about Navarro, who is hitting .332 for the season. “He hit a little bit of a downturn, but he’s still talking his walks, getting on base. ... Hopefully he just keeps it going.”
The 51s responded with five runs of their own in the top of the fifth, using three walks, two singles and a bases-loaded triple to pull within two runs.
“It seems the most vulnerable you are, usually, is right after you score runs,” Johnson said. “For whatever reason, the momentum is still in limbo and a lot more often than not, the other team has an opportunity to score runs, and they do.”
Jimenez finished 1 for 3 with three RBIs and two runs scored, Navarro was 2 for 4 with three RBIs. Andy Marte was 2 for 4 with two runs scored. Starter Bill Buckner earned the win in spite of giving up six earned runs in five innings.
Bees 10, 51s 8
In short: Luis Jimenez hit a bases-loaded double and Efren Navarro followed with an RBI single to give the Bees an early lead.
Up next: vs. Las Vegas, today, 1:05 p.m. 51s RHP Jacob deGrom (4-2, 4.02 ERA) vs. Bees RHP Dontrelle Willis (1-0, 0.00 ERA).
Next homestand: Aug. 30-Sept. 2 vs. Reno (Diamondbacks).
Sarah Thomas earned a degree in Mathematics from the University of Utah and is currently pursuing an MBA at Westminster College. She has been covering sports for the Deseret News since 2008.