Salt Lake Buzz manager Phil Roof has been on both ends of the baseball spectrum in the past two weeks.
His team has gone from a seven game winning streak that lifted the Buzz seven games over .500 to losing, including Thursday's 6-5 loss to the Omaha Royals at Franklin Quest Field, six of their last seven games and falling to just one game above .500 at 32-31.His explanation for the free fall - the little things; playing solid defense and getting the clutch base hit with runners on base.
In the seven victories, the offense has produced 51 runs, while the pithcing surrendered just 15 runs and recorded two shutouts.
In the six of seven losses, three of which were one-run games, the Buzz scored 27 runs, while allowing 48. And ironically, the Buzz's only win in the seven-game stretch was 1-0 at Fresno.
"They know how to win, but we haven't be able to pull it across," Roof said of his team's latest skid. "The pitching had been good for the most part. We've lapsed a little out of the bullpen on a couple of occasions. . . . It's up to the offense to step up and get us out of this and get us back on the right track."
As for Thursday, the Royals (34-30) touched Buzz starter Benj Sampson for a pair of runs in the first inning on a Joe Vitiello home run. Before Sampson settled in, the Royals scored another run in the top of the second to take a 3-0 advantage.
Salt Lake trimmed the lead to 3-2 in the bottom of the second with an RBI single by Marc Lewis and an RBI double by Chris Latham.
In his remaining four innings, he didn't face more that four hitters in any inning in allowing three hits and striking out five.
A solo homer by Scott Stahoviak tied the score at 3-all in the bottom of the sixth, but Omaha roughed up reliever Todd Ritchie (0-2) for three runs in the top of the eighth inning, and the Buzz could never recover.
Brian Buchanan added an RBI single in the bottom of the eighth, and Jon Shave singled home a run in the ninth before Corey Koskie grounded into the game-ending double play with the tying run on third.
"We had a couple of opportunities tonight, and we didn't take advantage of them. Like there in the last inning, that was probably ball four," Roof said. "Usually you make your own breaks good or bad, we made three or four (breaks), but we didn't make enough."
Salt Lake outhit the Royals 11 to 10 with Latham going 4-for-5 with an RBI, while Jed Hansen and Vitiello both went 2-for-5 with two RBIs for the Royals as they picked up the win in their first-ever visit to Salt Lake.
The series contiunes tonight at 7 p.m. at Franklin Quest as RHP Doug Litton makes his first start of the year. He'll oppose LHP Kevin Rawitzer, who will be making his first start of the year.
BUZZ NOTES: The Minnesota Twins traded OF Ken Ramos back to the Houston Astros for future considerations earlier in the week. He hit .261 with a homer and 11 RBIs for Salt Lake. . . . With Salt Lake's 1-0 win at Fresno Tuesday, the Buzz have a record six shutouts. . . . The contract of former Buzzman Rickey Bones was purchased by the Kansas City Royals earlier in the week. He has gone 1-2 with an 8.59 ERA with Omaha after going 5-1 with a 3.42 ERA in eight starts for the Buzz. . . . Koskie's eight-game hitting streak was snapped with a 0-for-5 outing Thursday, while Chad Rupp extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a hit in the loss.