Salt Lake Bees fall into huge hole early, drop game to River Cats
SALT LAKE CITY — Prior to Saturday's game, a storm system moved over Smith's Ballpark, bringing a flurry of rain that caused Sacramento's batting practice to be cut short.
Once the actual game began, however, the River Cats showed that the extra practice wasn't needed.
Sacramento got its work in early, scoring all of its runs in the first four innings and rolling to a 12-7 win over the Bees in front of 4,243 fans Saturday. The loss was Salt Lake's first of the early season.
The River Cats teed off on Salt Lake pitcher Joe Martinez, collecting 10 runs on seven hits and knocking the Bees starter out of the game after just 2 1/3 innings.
"(Martinez) just started missing locations and got himself into some hitter counts," Bees manager Keith Johnson said. "We're in the Pacific Coast League. If you get in those counts, guys are going to find the barrel. It was his first outing. I'm not concerned about Joe at all."
Salt Lake was first to strike in the first inning with an RBI single from Efren Navarro that scored Taylor Lindsey, but Sacramento was quick to answer. River Cat right fielder Michael Taylor blasted a two-run homer as part of a four-run second inning, giving Sacramento the lead. The River Cats tacked on seven more in the third behind four doubles to take a 10-run lead.
With his team in such a deep hole, Johnson preached patience.
"I just told (the players), 'Don't give away at-bats and stick with what you're doing as opposed to trying to hit a five-run homer with nobody on base.'" Johnson said. "I thought they did a great job in maintaining their approach."
In the fifth inning, the Bees' resolve at the plate started to pay dividends and they made a rally.
J.B. Shuck started things off, using his speed to take advantage of an overplay in the outfield by Taylor to stretch a single into a double. After Lindsey drew a walk, shortstop Grant Green hit a line drive double to bring both Shuck and Lindsey home. First baseman C.J. Cron got into the action, connecting for a double to left field. An error from River Cat first baseman Anthony Aliotti allowed Cron to come home.
Salt Lake's Matt Long finished off the scoring with a solo home run in the ninth, but it wasn't enough for the Bees.
"It's always tough to be down that much that early," Cron said. "But we knew if we could get a couple here and couple there we could get back in it, but we just fell a bit short."
The Bees and River Cats conclude their season opening series Sunday night at 6:35.
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