To be honest the beginning of the season was pretty brutal for everyone. I think we have some different guys in place now that will give us a better chance to win. We certainly have offensive capabilities to put up a lot of runs. —Brennan Boesch
SALT LAKE CITY — In the fifth inning Sunday, Salt Lake Bees manager Keith Johnson was roaming the third-base line when a batter drilled a line drive straight into his left thigh. Johnson fell down, but popped right back up.
His team followed suit.
Brennan Boesch hit a line-drive single to right field in the ninth to score Vance Albitz as the Bees walked off with a 7-6 victory over Sacramento.
"It was a good team win," Johnson said. "We had some really good at-bats that last inning and we were able to push one across with Boesch's big hit."
The walk-off served as a little bit of payback for Salt Lake (24-40). In its last series against Sacramento (May 10-13), it lost on walk-off hits three times.
Salt Lake went into the bottom of the ninth tied 6-6 after overcoming deficits of 3-0 and 5-3. Bees shortstop Albitz started off the ninth with a single into center field. Shawn O'Malley advanced Albitz to second with a sacrifice bunt, and after J.B. Shuck was intentionally walked, Boesch came up to bat.
"(River Cat pitcher Jeremy McBryde) was staying away, trying to get me to chase, which is pretty much what every pitcher does in this league to me," Boesch said.
Boesch stayed disciplined, however, and when he got a hittable slider he sent it to right field and Albitz was able to slide safely at home to give the Bees the victory.
Salt Lake has now won two of its last three series, after winning just one in the first seven weeks of the season.
"I'm hoping (it's the start of a turnaround)" Boesch said, dripping from a celebratory ice shower bestowed upon him by teammate Luis Jimenez. "We've had a lot of turnover in the pitching staff and a lot of runs were scored against us. It's tough to play like that. To be honest the beginning of the season was pretty brutal for everyone. I think we have some different guys in place now that will give us a better chance to win. We certainly have offensive capabilities to put up a lot of runs."
Bees starting pitcher Jarrett Grube made his first start after a short stint with the Angels. The call-up marked the 33-year-old's first stop in the majors. Grube gave up three runs in the first before settling down and throwing three scoreless innings. He gave up two more in the fifth and was removed from the game.
"After all these years in the minors, to get that first major league call-up, there's always a little bit of a transition," Johnson said. "It's not conscious but it's just how it works out sometimes."
The mark from the ball that smacked Johnson was still visible following the contest, but the manager quickly joked about what happened. Sometimes winning serves as a cure-all.
Bees 7, Sacramento 6
In short: Brennan Boesch hit a single to right to score Vance Albitz and give the Bees a 7-6 victory in walk-off fashion.
Next up: Salt Lake at Oklahoma City, Monday, 6:05 p.m.