After Bees center fielder Ryan LaMarre had a walk-off walk in the bottom of the 10th inning on Saturday, the question hung in the air as Salt Lake started to come back from a two-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth inning: Would the Bees walk it off again?
Thanks to a key broken-bat single by LaMarre and some self-destruction by Fresno pitcher Reymin Guduan, the answer was yes.
The Salt Lake Bees defeated the Fresno Grizzlies 5-4 on Sunday afternoon, scoring three runs in the ninth inning, the final run coming on a balk. After LaMarre’s single scored Shane Robinson from second, a first-base pick-off attempt from Guduan went sailing over the head of first baseman A.J. Reed, scoring Eric Young Jr. (pinch running for Dustin Ackley) from second to tie the game and advance LaMarre to second base.
A wild pitch sent LaMarre to third, then a balk from Guduan brought LaMarre home to win the game.
“He (Guduan) is left-handed, so he had his back to me right away, and I was joking with KJ (Bees manager Keith Johnson), ‘What do you think about a straight steal of home plate right now?’ and he said, ‘Let Ray (Navarro) hit, but I wouldn’t mind if you took a couple hard steps,’” LaMarre said.
Those couple steps were all LaMarre needed to make Guduan nervous.
“I took a couple hard steps, and he (Guduan) just panicked,” LaMarre said.
BATTLE OF THE PROSPECTS: Two top-three prospects started in Sunday’s matinee game. Salt Lake starting pitcher Alex Meyer, ranked the No. 3 prospect in the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim organization, went up against Fresno Grizzlies starting pitcher Francis Martes, ranked the No. 1 prospect in the Houston Astros organization. Meyer pitched five innings in Sunday’s game, giving up three runs, one walk and striking out five, while Martes pitched four and one-third innings, allowing no runs, walking six and striking out seven.
FOLLOW THE LEADERS: Coming into Sunday’s matchup against Fresno, Salt Lake ranked second in the Pacific Coast League in batting average, hitting .280, while the Grizzlies were in the top spot, hitting .290. Fresno and Salt Lake also rank the top two in runs batted in, with 53 and 49, respectively. The Bees and Grizzlies are also tops in on-base percentage, with Salt Lake holding a .369 OBP, and Fresno sitting at .367.
In individual batting, Salt Lake’s Shane Robinson ranks third in Pacific Coast League batting average, with .419. Fresno’s Tyler White ranks ninth, with a .385 average, and Reid Brignac placed 11th, with a .375 batting average.
SCARED OF THE SUN: The Bees haven’t posted a winning record in day games since 2011, when Salt Lake went 10-7 in sunny games. Since 2011, Salt Lake has gone 10-12 in 2012, 9-16 in 2013, 9-17 in 2014, 8-17 in 2015 and 9-12 in 2016. Following Sunday’s win over Fresno, the Bees are 1-2 in day games this season, and have 20 more day games scheduled for the rest of 2017.