Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — The Las Vegas 51s (72-57) exploded for seven runs in the first two innings, kept their hot bats going, and held off a rally from the home team to escape with a 14-8 road victory over the Salt Lake Bees (74-56) Monday night in front of 11,041 fans at Spring Mobile Ballpark.
In the top of the first inning, Ruben Tejada drew first blood for the 51s after ripping a double to left to bring home Kirk Nieuwenhuis. Lucas Duda then drew a walk, setting up third baseman Zach Lutz's three-run bomb, quickly putting the visiting team up 4-0.
The Bees were able to get a run across the plate in the home half of the first when third baseman Tommy Field found the gap in left-center field to bring home Matt Long, making the score 4-1.
Las Vegas added to its lead in the top of the second, however, when Juan Centeno and Brandon Hicks started the inning off with back-to-back singles, and Duda doubled to bring home both runners and land himself on second base.
Duda was able to cross home plate just two batters later when left fielder Eric Campbell singled, stretching Las Vegas' lead to six and ending Barry Enright's night on the mound.
Enright got shelled, giving up a staggering six hits and seven runs in just 1 2/3 innings of work.
Salt Lake finally got its bats going in the bottom of the second, playing small ball to get back in the game. John Hester got things going for the home team with a deep double to right-center field, which Roberto Lopez followed with a single to bring home Hester.
Long drew another walk, setting up Luis Jimenez's huge two-out double, which brought home Lopez and Long. Efren Navarro then continued the Bees' rally with an RBI single to bring the score to 7-5 after two innings of play.
After quickly retiring the side in the top of the third, the Bees came up to bat and had another huge inning to take their first lead of the night.
Scott Cousins and Lopez each singled, while Field reached on a walk to give Jimenez some ducks on the pond. Jimenez stepped to the plate and calmly belted a two-out triple, clearing the bases for the home team and giving them their first lead of the night at 8-7.
Jimenez was a force at the plate, coming up just a home run away from the cycle, as he went 3 for 5 with a single, a double, a triple and an impressive five RBIs to lead Salt Lake.
The Bees' lead, however, wouldn't last as long as they hoped it would.
Las Vegas came out in the fifth and sixth innings and scored five more runs when Tejada drove in two runs (fifth inning), Matt den Dekker hit back-to-back solo shots (fifth and sixth innings), and Campbell roped an RBI double (sixth inning) to give the 51s a commanding 12-8 lead.
Den Dekker led the way for Las Vegas, as he went 3 for 4 at the plate with two homers and a single.
Salt Lake struggled to get its bats going after its huge second and third innings, totaling only three hits and failing to get any more runs across the plate.
Southpaw Tim Byrdak (W, 3-2) earned the win on the hill for the 51s, giving up two hits and zero runs while fanning four batters in two innings of work. Relievers Sean Henn and Justin Hampson managed to keep the Bees' bats at bay the rest of the way, while Las Vegas added two more runs in the eighth and ninth innings to ensure the 14-8 victory for the visiting team.
The two teams square off again Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. at Spring Mobile Ballpark in the fourth game of a five-game series.
Ryan Love was born and raised in Holladay, Utah and is a full-time student at the University of Utah studying communications. Ryan became a part-time scoreboarder and sports reporter for the Deseret News in October, 2012. EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org