Maybe Salt Lake was simply done in by a quirky inability to score runs despite having plenty of hits. Maybe Sacramento's pitching staff was able to buckle down after allowing a runner to get on base.
Maybe the Bees are just getting tired after playing 96 games.
Whatever the case, Sunday afternoon's 9-4 beating at the hands of Sacramento was one manager Bobby Mitchell couldn't quite put his finger on.
"We were trying to be aggressive on the bases," Mitchell said. "It just happens that way sometimes. ... You don't get the hits at the right time, or you scatter them too much."
The Bees pounded out 13 hits but stranded eight runners while squandering prime scoring chances throughout the game.
A prime example of that came in the second inning, when Salt Lake threatened to break the game open. With runners on first and second and nobody out, left fielder Coby Smith was asked to bunt and put two runners in scoring position. His bunt, however, went directly back to the pitcher who threw to third to force out the lead runner, and the Bees were never able to extend their advantage.
Starting pitcher Nick Adenhart had a solid outing for the first five innings but may have been rattled a little when a line drive bounced off his leg in the sixth. Nursing a 4-1 lead at the time, Adenhart allowed three runs before getting out of the inning. The biggest blow came on a two-run double to the gap by Sacramento's Brooks Conrad to even the score at 4-4.
"I don't think it affected him," Mitchell said of the play. "But after that, then it's more of a ballgame. Instead of it being 4-1, it's 4-4."
Sacramento took a 6-4 lead in the seventh inning after Eric Patterson belted a two-run homer that led to Adenhart taking a spot on the bench after the inning.
Salt Lake's Matt Brown, who will be the Bees' lone representative at the Triple-A All-Star game next week, had another big day at the plate with a homer and two RBIs on three hits. He also stole a base.
"We hit the ball good," Brown said. "We just didn't hit enough runs in."
The game was the 59th between the two teams, and Sacramento took a 30-29 lead in the all-time series. Though he said he wasn't aware of how close the history has been between the two teams and didn't feel like there was any animosity between any of the players, Brown admitted losing a game like the one on Sunday will make for an interesting series finale today.
"It's going to be a rivalry if they keep beating us," Brown said.
Sacramento's Chris Gissell took the mound in the fifth and pitched three innings of scoreless relief to earn the win. Adenhart, who gave up six earned runs in his seven innings of work, was tagged with the loss and dropped to 6-9.BEE LINES: The Bees donated 50 cents from each ticket sold for Sunday's game to Minor League Baseball's fundraising effort to assist flood victims in Iowa. With 3,627 tickets sold, $1,813.50 was donated. ... The Bees and River Cats close out their series tonight at 7:05. ... Salt Lake's Shane Loux (10-4) faces Gio Gonzalez (6-6) in the final game before the Triple-A All-Star break. ... Sacramento struck out only three batters but walked no Salt Lake players. ... The Bees' pitching staff combined for 10 strikeouts and only two walks.