It didn't take Chris Walker long to endear himself to Salt Lake fans.
In just three games after signing with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and sent to the Bees, the speedy outfielder has five hits, and the biggest of them all came in Friday's 8-5 victory over Colorado Springs for Salt Lake's third-straight victory.
With the Bees hanging on to a one-run lead through four innings, Walker, who was starting for the Camden Riversharks in the independent leagues earlier this week, belted a grand slam over the left-field wall to put the game well out of reach.
"We've won three in a row and he's been here three games and I think that's a sign he's put a little spark in our lineup," Salt Lake manager Bobby Mitchell said of Walker's addition.
Adam Pavkovich and Dee Brown opened the frame with singles, and after Tim Duff walked to load the bases. Coby Smith walked for the third time in the game to score Pavkovich, then Walker drilled the big fly.
"In that situation I was looking for a pitch to drive something I could get up in the air and at least score one run," Walker said. "He happened to leave it out over the plate, and I got it elevated and it went out."
Walker was hitting .290 with two doubles, four triples, five homers and 20 RBIs before coming to Salt Lake. For the Bees he is hitting .385 with seven RBIs.
"It's been unbelievable. It's been a great ride," he said. "As I said from day one, I am just happy to be here, and I'm happy the Angels gave me a shot to play with them."
He finished 2-for-4 with four RBIs Friday.
With the victory, the Bees maintain their comfortable eight-game lead on the Pacific Coast League Pacific Northern Division over Portland, while the Sky Sox fall further in the cellar at 11 1/2 games back.
Colorado Springs starter Jason Hirsch, making his first rehab start of the season after suffering with shoulder problems, gave up one run on three hits in three innings. He walked five and struck out just one in throwing 64 pitches.
Salt Lake starter Shane Loux allowed four runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings. He walked two and fanned seven in moving his record to a team-high seven wins against just three losses.
The Salt Lake right-hander has now won three of his last four decisions.
Henry Bonilla worked the eighth and ninth to earn his first save of the season.NOTES: The Bees open a four-game road trip at Tacoma today. ... Howie Kendrick completed his rehab assignment with the Bees. ... Salt Lake's all-time record against Colorado Springs is 99-77 ... Attendance was 7,465 ... Matt Brown hit his 13th homer of the season with a long ball in the eighth. ...Kendry Morales led the Bees with three singles.
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