SALT LAKE CITY — Among the myriad ways to lose a baseball game, spotting your opponent six early runs ranks near the top of the list.
Such was the case for Salt Lake on Tuesday night as the Bees suffered through another disastrous outing by Scott Kazmir and fell to Sacramento 10-2. The veteran lefty needed only seven pitches to hit yet another batter — his sixth in 14 innings since joining the Bees. And though he made it through the first inning without allowing a run, the second frame wasn't nearly as kind.
The River Cats went off for six runs on five hits, including doubles by Anthony Recker and Andy LaRoche. Kazmir, who entered the game with a 15.15 ERA, was chased before the end of the third inning for the fourth time in five starts.
"Scott just needs as many opportunities as he can to get out there and try to get back to the level he was at before he came here," Salt Lake manager Keith Johnson said. "He's getting tested right now. His morale is up, though, and he's working his behind off to get where he wants to be."
Sacramento's Chris Carter led the River Cat offense with two no-doubt homers. One of Oakland's top prospects, Carter entered the series with a meager .173 batting average, but has gone 3-for-5 with three RBIs, four runs scored and three walks in two games against Salt Lake.
Meanwhile, LaRoche and Eric Sogard combined to go 4-for-8 with five RBIs. Lenny DiNardo, who had a massive 18.24 ERA entering the game, pitched seven innings of two-run ball to claim his first win of the season.
Michael Taylor, who hit two solo home runs during Tuesday's victory, was the only Sacramento player without a hit.
The Bees got on the board after Reggie Willits and Tyson Auer hit consecutive singles to begin the bottom of the third inning. Alexi Amarista was hit by a pitch to load the bases, then two sacrifice flies to the warning track by Jeff Baisley and Jeremy Moore plated Salt Lake's only runs of the game
The loss was the fourth in six games for the Bees since returning from their grueling 12-game road trip. Salt Lake dropped to 28-38 on the season.
"I applaud the guys for staying in it and working hard until the end," Johnson said. "It's easy to get down when you go through period like this, but that's not what this team is about."
Rather than focus on their struggles and losses, Johnson says his goals are far more fundamental.
"To say things just aren't falling away is a 'poor me' attitude, and I don't feel sorry for our team at all," Johnson said. "Our record isn't where we want it to be, but our preparation and execution are good. Obviously we'd like to win, but to me winning doesn't overtake development. And our goal is to get these guys as ready as possible for winning at the big league level."
The Bees and River Cats meet again tonight at 7:05 p.m. at Spring Mobile Ballpark.