Mother Nature did her part by providing a backdrop of thunder, spectacular lightning, wind and rain. At times, the lights even flickered.
But the Pacific Coast League game at Franklin Covey Field was nothing like World Championship Wrestling's Monday Night Nitro event across town at the E Center.These guys actually made contact.
In a game featuring 29 hits, including seven doubles, one triple and four home runs, Las Vegas defeated Salt Lake 10-7. The wild three-hour affair also featured a grand slam, eight different pitchers, three players hit by pitches and a 21-minute rain delay among other things.
Though the Buzz never led after giving up a two-run homer to PCL RBI leader George Arias in the first inning, they did have plenty of opportunities. The final chance came in the eighth when Chad Rupp, who belted a grand slam five innings earlier, struck out looking with the bases loaded.
"That would have been asking too much," Buzz manager Phil Roof said of a second grand slam. "But I'm glad to see (Rupp) swinging the bat well again."
The designated hitter, who finished with two hits, entered the game with just four over his past 36 at-bats. Rupp's efforts helped Salt Lake score seven runs for the first time in 10 days. Roof said batting was perhaps the only positive thing the Buzz could take from Monday's loss. His squad's bullpen is banged up, as are position players like Scott Stahoviak (lower back strain).
Starter Mark Redman was chased from the game after giving up six earned runs on nine hits in three innings. Las Vegas had built a 6-1 advantage before Rupp closed the gap with his base-clearing shot over the right-field wall.
Salt Lake's first run came on a solo homer by Jon Shave in the first. The additional Vegas scores were produced by Eddie Williams' three-run homer and Jimmy Gonzalez's RBI single in the third.
Each team scored once in both the fourth and seventh innings. The Stars' runs came courtesy of James Mouton, who stole home, and another run-scoring single by Gonzalez. The Buzz matched the scores on RBI singles by Shave and Marc Lewis.
Las Vegas capped all scoring in the eighth when Charles Poe drove in two runs with a double.
"We kind of let this one get away from us in the end," Buzz manager Roof said after his team fell short in its bid to sweep the four-game series. "It's tough. You've got to dominate with pitching, and we just didn't have it tonight."
The setback not only snapped a three-game winning streak, it cost the Buzz (47-45) a chance to gain ground on division-leading Fresno. The Grizzlies lost at Iowa but remain 101/2 games ahead of Salt Lake.
Salt Lake's homestand continues Monday night at 7 against Albuquerque (top affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers). Buzz LHP Benj Sampson (5-5, 5.80 ERA) and Dukes RHP Ricky Stone (2-3, 4.65) are the scheduled starters in the opener of a four-game series.
BEE LINES: The attendance was 8,948 . . . Shave and Esteban Beltre each finished with three hits for the Buzz . . . Salt Lake pitcher Frank Rodriguez (5-7, 4.67) was called up by the parent Minnesota Twins after the game. He will be replaced on the Buzz roster by right-hander Steve Wojciechowski . . . Tickets still remain for July 24, when postgame fireworks follow the Buzz vs. Dukes . . . Utah Jazz president Frank Layden and his wife, Barbara, were guests in Buzz owner Joe Buzas' suite.