Good thing the Salt Lake Bees auctioned off the uniforms they wore in Friday night's 17-4 loss to the Portland Beavers.

The camouflage jerseys, worn in tribute to the U.S. Armed Forces and used to raise funds for the Utah National Guard Charitable Trust, left the ballpark in someone else's hands — allowing the Bees to move on without a reminder of a lopsided series-opening setback.

It capped a bad day for the Bees, who experienced travel woes getting home from Fresno via Phoenix after a 4 a.m. wake-up call. The team didn't get back to Utah until the late afternoon. Their equipment arrived at Franklin Covey Field around 5:40 p.m.

The troubles added up to a less-than-stellar showing by the league-leading Bees (32-14) — compounded by the fact that it was a fireworks night and the game was televised.

Salt Lake pitchers gave up 24 hits in the loss, including 20 singles.

While acknowledging his team was tired, Bees manager Bobby Mitchell didn't use it as an excuse.

"It was probably the worst game of the year from the pitching standpoint, obviously," said Mitchell. "It was just one of those games you run into during the year, hopefully. We're struggling right now — struggling to score runs, struggling pitching."

Salt Lake has lost seven of its past nine outings.

"Hopefully we come back and bounce out if it," said Mitchell, who noted that transactions have taken a toll on a team that started the season 21-1. "We need to start playing better."

Things weren't all bad in the latest loss, however. There was a little lemonade in the mix — very little, that is.

A three-run homer by Kendry Morales cut into a four-run deficit in the third inning.

Salt Lake, though, drew no closer.

Portland put the game well out of reach with 10 runs in the sixth, the first time the Bees have allowed that many in an inning in almost three years. The Beavers sent 15 batters to the plate while feasting on the pitching of Salt Lake relievers David Austen, Jeff Kennard and Matt Wilhite.

After leading off with four consecutive singles, including a two- run hit by Matt Antonelli, Portland pulled away by scoring on a sacrifice fly (Chase Headley), a bases-loaded walk (Chip Ambres), a two-run single by Will Venable, a three-run homer from Nick Hundley and Peter Ciofrone's RBI single.

The outburst gave the Beavers a commanding 14-3 advantage.

Salt Lake's lone response down the stretch was a run-scoring single by Morales in the seventh.

Portland, however, countered with three more scores in the eighth — off the bats of Ciofrone, Headley and Brian Myrow — to cap all scoring in the contest.

The Beavers never trailed after building a 4-0 lead over the first three innings. A solo homer by Ciofrone got things started. RBI singles from Hundley, Ambres and Venable followed.

The series continues today at 6:35 p.m. Portland RHP Clay Hensley (0-0, 1.29 ERA) and Salt Lake RHP Shane Loux (6-3, 4.15 ERA) are the scheduled starters.

BEE LINES: The attendance was 9,698, ... Bees starter Dustin Moseley, who is on a major league rehab assignment, took the loss. He scattered seven hits in four complete innings — walking three and striking out three. ... Portland is the top affiliate of the San Diego Padres . . . Mitchell said a seventh-inning exchange of words he had with Beavers manager Randy Ready was over "different philosophies" as to when to run and when not to run after Salt Lake stole a base when Portland wasn't holding a runner on while leading by 10.


E-mail: dirk@desnews.com