SALT LAKE CITY — In just six pitches, a close game turned into a rout.
Las Vegas ambushed Salt Lake Bees starter Jose Alvarez in the fourth inning, blasting back-to-back-to-back-to-back home runs before gliding to a 16-4 victory Thursday night at Smith's Ballpark.
The Bees led 2-1 heading into the fourth frame, but that lead was quickly wiped away as the 51s had a mini in-game batting practice. Allan Dykstra, Zach Lutz, Taylor Teagarden and Brandon Allen hit four consecutive no-doubt home runs to kick start a Las Vegas blowout.
"(Alvarez) was going well and then the first guy hit the home run and I think he started to try and make a little bit better pitch," Bees manager Kevin Johnson said. "Every hitter from that point on, he just tried to make better pitches. At the end of the inning he got back to doing the things he was doing prior to that and made three quick outs."
It was just the fifth time in the PCL modern era that four consecutive home runs have been hit and the quartet only needed six pitches to get it done.
Alvarez landed himself in the Salt Lake record books by giving up the most home runs in a single inning in team history, and when he gave up a fifth-inning homer to Andrew Brown he tied the franchise record for most home runs given up in an outing.
There hasn't been much to smile about in the Bees' dugout lately. With the blowout defeat, Salt Lake has now lost five straight and has fallen 11 1/2 games behind Vegas in the division.
Things got so bad Thursday that with the Bees trailing 15-4 in the ninth, Johnson called on left fielder Drew Heid to finish the game on the mound. It was Heid's second professional pitching appearance, and he gave up three hits and the last of Las Vegas' 16 runs.
"We're still doing a lot of things offensively to try and keep ourselves in ballgames," Johnson said. "We just need to stay away from the big inning. Right now that's our nemesis and has been all season. Our guys will figure it out. We got guys that need to make adjustments and we will get those things taken care of. We're going to go out there and compete and that's what I care about."
The Bees will try to avoid the sweep Friday when they close out their four-game series against Vegas at 6:35 p.m.