SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake Bees starting pitcher Hector Santiago made his debut for Salt Lake Sunday after being optioned down by the Los Angeles Angels, who hope that a stint in the minors will help Santiago get his stride back after opening the season 0-6 and falling out of the rotation.
His first performance in Salt Lake didn't help that cause.
Santiago gave up eight hits and five earned runs in just 2 2/3 innings as the Bees fell to Fresno 10-2.
"(Santiago's) season in the big leagues wasn't going how he wanted it," Salt Lake manger Keith Johnson said. "He's down here to work some things out and figure out something. It was just his first outing. In five days he'll get the ball again and we'll see where he is."
As Santiago struggled, his opposition on the mound shined.
Fresno's Mitch Kickham pitched six no-hit innings to lead the Grizzlies to victory. Though the Bees (17-34) were hitless against Kickham, he was far from perfect and sometimes struggled with his control. He allowed base runners in four of the sixth innings he pitched, ending up walking five and hitting one Bee batter. Salt Lake was never able to take advantage of the free men on base, however, as Kickham was able to survive his mistakes without surrendering a hit.
"He was throwing strikes," Johnson said. "He did a good job of keeping them off-balance and made pitches when he had too."
With Kickham needing 96 pitches to get through six innings, Fresno manager Bob Mariano elected to save his young pitcher's arm by taking him out. The ball was given to Brett Bochy to continue the no-no. Bochy cruised through the first two batters he faced, striking out Taylor Lindsey and getting Tommy Field to pop out, but he couldn't finish the inning unscathed. Salt Lake's Luis Martinez got ahold of a pitch and was able to push it just over the right-field fence and just inside the foul pole for a solo home run to break up the no-hitter.
The Bees added two more hits in the ninth, including a solo home run from Lindsay.
This past week, Salt Lake has served as the Angels' very own rehabilitation unit, with notable players such as David Freese and Josh Hamilton coming down for stints. The trend continued Sunday with L.A. second baseman Ian Stewart in town. Stewart finished 0 for 2 but did draw a walk.