SALT LAKE CITY— Coming off a dramatic 10-inning victory Sunday against Nashville, the Bees hoped to ride that momentum to a victory over another Tennessee team — Memphis — in the series opener between the two Monday night at Spring Mobile Ballpark.
Salt Lake got the job done.
Capitalizing on a late Memphis error, the Bees emerged with a 5-4 victory.
"(Memphis) is the best defensive team in the league," said Bees manager Keith Johnson. "Fortunately for us, it was an error that helped us at the end of the ballgame."
The Redbirds opened the contest with a pair of runs as Kolten Wong slugged a two-run homer to put the visitors on the board. Andrew Romine extinguished the rally with a brilliant diving catch over second base to close the top of the inning. Romine, Kole Calhoun and Luis Rodriguez then all drove in runs in the bottom of the second inning to put the Bees on top, 3-2.
After starting pitcher Barry Enright struggled, Johnson opted to throw Ty Kelley on the mound, marking his first appearance for the Bees. Kelley pitched through the fourth inning, but struggled in the fifth by giving up two earned runs on six hits. One of those runs came after a bases-loaded situation where Kelley walked Chad Huffman to give Memphis a 4-3 lead. Accordingly, Johnson again was forced to reach into the bullpen, this time for Jeremy Berg, who got the Bees out of another bases-loaded situation to close the fifth inning.
"Kelley did pretty good," said Johnson. "He gave up some runs in his last inning, but for a kid out of A-ball I thought he did pretty good for us tonight."
In a very interesting series of events, the Bees were able to finish the eighth inning with a pair of runs that proved to be the difference. With one out and the bases loaded, Calhoun connected with what he referred to as a "swing-and-bunt" that Memphis pitcher Marc Rzepczynski handled poorly. Rzepczynski, in a panic, overthrew his catcher, which allowed Roberto Lopez and Rodriguez to cross home plate.
'I'll take it," said Calhoun. "It's another W, so that's cool."
NOTEBOOK: In his first outing for Salt Lake since returning from the Los Angeles Angels, Enright struggled Monday night. He gave up two earned runs on four hits in a three-inning performance. In four games, including two starts, for Los Angeles, Enright went 0-2 with a 12.96 ERA.
JIMENEZ RETURNS: Third basemen Luis Jimenez returned to Salt Lake Monday, after a monthlong stay with the Los Angeles Angels. He finished the game 1 for 4. In 24 games for the Halos, Jimenez hit .232 with three doubles and a pair of RBIs.
ATTENDANCE: On a mild night in May, 4,368 baseball fans descended on Spring Mobile Ballpark to cheer the Bees to victory.
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