Salt Lake Buzz manager Phil Roof had simple instructions for his club after their 6-3 victory over the division-leading Fresno Grizzlies Thursday night at Franklin Covey Field - go home, savor the victory and come back Friday afternoon and do it all over again.
The victory, Salt Lake's seventh in a row, which ties a club record, pulled the Buzz within 31/2 games of the Grizzlies, and the plot is only thickening as they continue the six-game series with a doubleheader today at 5:30 p.m."It's one game at a time. They can enjoy the benefits of this win tonight and tomorrow (Friday) is a different story. It's another day, another game and we've go to go out an compete and fight for it," Roof said. "Everything's even when you start the game. I don't want to get them too overconfident. I want them to know that we played a good game tonight."
And his team is is adopting the same mindset.
"The guys aren't really thinking about it, they're just playing baseball. That's all it is. When you start putting something on it like it's a big race, that's when everybody starts to get nervous," said Buzz right-hander Todd Ritchie, who fired 22/3 score-less innings to earn the save. "That was real important (to get the first win of the series) to get everyone's confidence up. We still have five left. We'll see what happens."
The Buzz all but had their summer bags packed trailing Fresno by 141/2 games 29 games ago, but solid play (22-7 during that stretch) brought new life to the club.
"Nobody would say that but it goes through your mind," Ritch-ie said. "We didn't think about it, but after the All-Star break everything started to fall in line. Little things that usually don't go our way were going our way."
Buzz right-hander Doug Linton did one of the "little things" Thursday by allowing just three runs in 61/3 innings, while striking out five to move his record to 3-0.
"Doug gave us what we need-ed. He gave us some incentive to win," Roof said. "Todd Ritchie came in an took care of the rest of it."
Salt Lake's Jamie Ogden and Marc Lewis provided the big blows, two-run homers in the second and fourth innings respectively, to give the Buzz the 4-0 lead.
Fresno cut the lead to 4-3 with a pair of runs in the fifth and another in the sixth, but Ritchie slammed the door on any possible comeback.
Corey Koskie and Scott Stahoviak produced RBI singles in the seventh inning.
Lewis, who finished 1-for-4, has now hit in eight straight games. Also, Esteban Beltre went 3-for-4 for the Buzz, while Matt Howard went 3-for-4 for the Grizzlies.
Salt Lake's Shane Bowers (6-5, 5.95 ERA) battles Fresno's Steve Soderstrom (9-2, 3.67) in the opener, and Steve Wojciechowski (0-0, 0.00) takes on Randy Phillips (3-2, 6.26) in the nightcap.
Southern Division Standings
.. W L Pct. GB
Fresno (Giants) 65 45 .591 -
Salt Lake (Twins) 61 48 .560 3 1/2
Las Vegas (Padres) 58 54 .518 8