SALT LAKE CITY — On Thursday night, the Salt Lake Bees didn't give their fans much to cheer about as they were blasted 13-2 by El Paso.
Their two runs, however, did come in an unusually exciting fashion.
When a batter bunts it's usually a showcase of selflessness, a sign that a player is willing to sacrifice himself for the betterment of the team. Though that may have been the intention of Vance Albitz and Shawn O'Malley when they entered the batter's box in the fourth inning Thursday, they showed that a bunt doesn't always have to be a sacrifice.
Trailing 5-0 in the bottom of the fourth, Salt Lake had men on second and third base with Albitz up to bat. The second baseman placed a bunt that ended up in no man's land between El Paso's pitcher and right-side infielders. The perfectly placed ball not only scored Salt Lake's Roberto Lopez, but it allowed Albitz to reach first base with an infield single.
The Bees weren't done with the small ball.
O'Malley entered the batter's box next and knocked a bunt down the third-base line. O'Malley, who has been clocked in the 40-yard dash at 4.5 seconds, was able to beat the throw to first and collect his 16th bunt single of the year. The back-to-back bunt RBI singles raised the Smith's Ballpark crowd to its feet, but the exciting small ball turned out to be the only rose among many thorns.
When El Paso jumped on Salt Lake starter Wade LeBlanc, it was just the start of an ugly night for the Bees' pitching staff. Salt Lake gave up 17 hits and a season-high 12 walks as the Chihuahuas ran, or in this case walked, away from the Bees.
LeBlanc lasted just 3 2/3 innings after giving up eight hits and five runs, but the El Paso offense wasn't halted when Bees manager Keith Johnson turned to his bullpen.
The Chihuahuas batted around their lineup in consecutive innings in the sixth and seventh, scoring four runs in each and extending their lead to 11 runs to coast to victory.
El Paso 13, Bees 2
In short: The Bees pitching staff issued a season-high 12 walks, helping El Paso to an easy 13-2 win Thursday night.
Up next: El Paso at Salt Lake, Friday, 7:05 p.m.