For the most part, Bees pitcher Nick Adenhart had an outing on Sunday afternoon that may help him build some sorely needed momentum.
Adenhart, who has lost seven of his last eight decisions, threw 4 2/3 strong innings in Salt Lake's 9-5 loss to New Orleans. He allowed just two singles and looked to be on his way to getting his season back on track.
"I felt good," Adenhart said. "The past few weeks I've been feeling good. Coming out and pitching well for a few innings, my big thing has been big innings and trying to nip those in the bud. It kind of came back and got me today, but I was more confident and made better strides in that situation."
Adenhart first ran into trouble when he allowed New Orleans to load the bases with two outs in the fifth. He was able to get out of the jam by striking out Chris Aguila with a nasty curve.
Adenhart wasn't as fortunate in the sixth. The Zephyrs' first six hitters reached base on him, the last of which was Anderson Hernandez, who tied the game at 4-4 with a three-run triple. Adenhart finished off the inning without allowing any further damage, which can be considered a positive step. He had given up at least six runs in each of his previous five starts.
The low point of Adenhart's outing came when he walked Anderson Machado on four straight pitches in the sixth. The free pass loaded the bases for Hernandez, who crushed Adenhart's sinker to the center-field wall.
Salt Lake manager Bobby Mitchell said the walk was "disturbing."
"That's not where he wants to be," he said.
Adenhart started the season exactly where he wanted to be, as he won his first four decisions and got called up by the Angels. After three appearances with the Angels, he was optioned back to Salt Lake and his record since then is 2-10.
Salt Lake fans are waiting to see Adenhart return to his early season form, and perhaps his performance on Sunday will get him going in that direction.
"I feel like it was something I can build off of," Adenhart said. "That's the goal every night to keep the team in position to win the game. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't."
With the exception of Freddy Sandoval, Salt Lake's offense struggled on Sunday, something it hadn't done during the Bees' modest three-game winning streak from Thursday through Saturday. Salt Lake failed to string together any offense after Sandoval hit a three-run home run in the third inning. Brandon Wood, who hit his 21st home run of the season in the sixth, was the only Bees batter to advance past second base following Sandoval's blast.
"He's (Sandoval) been swinging the bat good all year, pretty much," Mitchell said. "We can't rely on him every night."Matt Brown made his final appearance in a Bees uniform for a while. Brown, along with pitcher Kevin Jepsen, will leave for the USA Olympic baseball team's training camp today. The team will train in North Carolina before heading to Beijing for the Games.
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