Shortly after the final out of Salt Lake's 11-6 come-from-behind victory over Albuquerque Wednesday, Buzz manager Phil Roof glanced at the Franklin Covey Field scoreboard.
Flashing above the final totals, which included 15 Salt Lake hits, was a congratulations to Roof for his 700th career victory as a minor league manager. Other accolades followed as he reached the clubhouse - handshakes, the game ball (soon to be signed by the entire team) and a cold beer from the Buzz coaching staff."I never dreamed that many wins would come in my slot. It looked pretty nice on the scoreboard," Roof said. "It's business, but it is kind of nice seeing numbers racked up like that."
In anticipation of No. 700, several members of Roof's family flew in from St. Louis to watch him reach the milestone.
They saw quite a game.
Trailing 6-3, the Buzz assured Roof would reach the mark by scoring eight times over the sixth and seventh innings. Designated hitter Brian Buchanan, who homered and singled, powered the outburst with four RBI. Mike Moriarty knocked in two more with a single, while Chris Latham and Jamie Ogden each added run-scoring hits.
Winning one for the boss, however, required a little extra motivation. It took a brush-back pitch by Dukes starter Ted Lilly to Buzz batter Jon Shave to fire up the troops. Umpire Ron Kulpa then warned both teams to clean it up.
"The only way to retaliate was to swing the bat," Roof said. "We finally wore (Lilly) down and took advantage of some mistakes he made."
Salt Lake, which finished with a season-high six stolen bases, scored four runs with two out in the sixth and equaled the tally against reliever Manny Barrios a frame later.
"That's the kind of game you don't have to manage," Roof said.
The decision to replace Buzz starter Doug Linton with Kevin Ohme, though, proved wise. The right-hander, who upped his record to 2-1 after 31/3 innings of work, extended his string of scoreless frames to 13.
With the victory, Salt Lake (49-45) pulled to within 91/2 games of first-place Fresno in the Southern Division. The Buzz, who haven't been this close since June 25, have shaved five games off of the Grizzlies' lead in 14 outings since the Triple-A All-Star break.
The third game of the series is tonight at 7. Buzz RHP Shane Bowers (3-5, 6.15 ERA) and Duke RHP Mike Judd (5-7, 4.56) are the scheduled starters.
BEE LINES: The attendance was 7,512 . . . Provo mayor Lewis Billings was a guest in Buzz owner Joe Buzas' suite. Buzas and Karl Malone are interested in bringing a Pioneer League franchise to Utah County . . . Roof now has baseballs commemorating his 500th, 600th and 700th victories as a manager. He reached all three milestones over his four years as Buzz skipper.