SALT LAKE CITY — A pair of Sacramento River Cats with Utah ties opened Sunday's game at Spring Mobile Ballpark like they were taking batting practice against Salt Lake Bees starter Eric Junge.
And it never got any better from there.
As a result, the Bees lost at home to the River Cats for the second straight day, this time 10-2. It was the Bee's fifth consecutive loss overall, as their hopes for a PCL Pacific North Division title seem to be slipping away with just 15 games remaining. Salt Lake fell to 65-64 with the setback, leaving the Bees three games behind division leading Tacoma, pending the Rainiers' late game at Reno Sunday night.
Dallas McPherson, a former Bee and Stinger, got things started in the first inning by blasting a two-run homer for Sacramento. Then it was former BYU Cougar Matt Carson's turn, as he blasted a home run off Junge in the third inning.
McPherson then hit his second consecutive two-run homer off Junge, also in the third inning, to give the River Cats a 6-0 lead.
That was more than enough offense for Sacramento against the punch-less Bees. Salt Lake managed only two hits on Saturday night, but had a 13 on Sunday. Curiously, the Bees actually had three more hits than the River Cats, but still lost by eight runs.
"We had more hits than they did," said Bees manager Bobby Mitchell. "But we had singles and a couple of doubles. They hit homers. That's the big difference."
Sacramento finished with four home runs for the game and also had a two-run triple.
The Bees, meanwhile, had runners thrown out at home for the third out in both the fourth and the sixth innings and didn't score until in the eighth after the River Cats had opened up a 9-0 lead.
Bees catcher Hank Conger hit a two-run double in the eighth to end a 17-inning scoreless streak.
"Falling that far behind is tough," said Mitchell. "With the wind blowing the way it was, you can make a comeback when you are down four. But nine — with them still hitting? That's tough."
The Bees will try to get back on track in the third game of the four-game set against Sacramento tonight at 7 p.m.
Salt Lake is scheduled to pitch Matt Palmer (2-2, 2.45 ERA) against Sacramento's Clayton Mortensen (12-6, 3.98).
BEES WAX: Bees reliever Jordan Walden was called up by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Sunday. The hard-throwing 22-year old appeared in six games for the Bees after being promoted from Double-A Arkansas. ... The Bees have not played well this season in front of big crowds. They are 4-11 in games played in front of 10,000 or more fans — including Saturday night's loss. ... Attendance on Sunday was 4,109.
e-mail: [email protected]