Call off the medics, the Salt Lake Buzz bullpen is showing faint signs of life.
Buzz lefthander Travis Miller, who was roughed up for six earned runs and a loss three outings ago, fired four innings of two-hit ball and struck out one to lift the Buzz to a 6-5 come-from-behind victory over the Memphis Redbirds Thursday night at Franklin Quest Field."He pitched down," Salt Lake manager Phil Roof said of Mil-ler's success. "He stayed down in the strike zone, and that's tough when you throw that hard."
The victory breathes a bit of life into the struggling bullpen that has blown 11 save opportunities this year, with nearly half of them coming in the month of June.
Roof said the bullpen (Shane Bowers, Gus Gandarillas, Kevin Ohme and Todd Ritchie) needs to follow Miller's lead.
"I wouldn't say we have turned the corner until everybody out there does the job like they are supposed to," Roof said. "At least it's a start. It should let the other guys know that it can be done."
Since the middle of June the bullpen has been tagged with six losses, but Miller (2-3, three saves) has posted a win and save in his back-to-back ap-pear-ances.
The Buzz had trouble zeroing in on Memphis starter Matt Mor-ris' 93 to 97 mph fastball and 87-89 mph slider in the first three innings, but he exploded for four runs in the fourth.
Chris Latham singled and Esteban Beltre walked. Corey Koskie; Chad Rupp; and David Ortiz, in his first game on injury rehab from the Minnesota Twins, all had RBI singles to aid the Buzz to the 4-0 lead.
"He's not the same pitcher from the stretch," Roof said of Morris. "Chris singled, Beltre walked and our big guys got the base hits."
Then the wheels fell off for Buzz starter Travis Baptist. The Redbirds (33-39) touched off Baptist for five runs in the top of the fifth, and it appeared that the Buzz (35-35) would blow another big lead like they have done four times in the month.
But Rupp added an RBI single in the fifth to tie the game, and then won it with a RBI sacrifice fly in the bottom of the eighth.
"That's another one run game, but I'll take all the pressure that goes with it as long as we win," Roof said.
Rupp, who had 16 RBI in the four games with Memphis, finished 2-for3 with three RBIs, while Juan Munoz and Mike Stefanski had two hits and two RBIs each for the Redbirds.
The Buzz, that went 3-5 in the latest homestand, begin an eight-game road trip Friday at Edmonton with righty Frank Rodriquez (2-6, 6.24 ERA) going against Trappers' righty Jay Witasick (4-3, 4.18). After the four games with the Trappers, the Buzz are at Calgary for four more before returning home July 4 when they host Vancouver.
BEE LINES: Pitcher Travis Baptist and infielder Chad Rupp were named to the 1998 Pacific Coast League All-Star game to be played July 8 in Norfolk, Va . . . Catcher Jayhawk Owens was given his release Thursday and was replaced on the roster by catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who was promoted from Double-A New Britain . . . Catcher Jeff Smith will be reassigned to New Britain Friday . . . Pitcher Fred Rath was claimed on waivers by the Colorado Rockies Thursday afternoon . . . Utah product Reed Secrist did not play in the series finale Thursday.