After starting the season by losing just twice in their first 26 games, the Salt Lake Bees have been sitting comfortably atop the PCL's Pacific North Division all year.
But now, with just 24 games remaining in the regular season, the Bees have fallen back into a pennant race.
Salt Lake's 13-3 loss to the Fresno Grizzlies on Saturday night at Franklin Covey Field was its third in a row.
Tacoma, the team closest to the Bees in the divisional standings, entered Saturday's game on a 10-game winning streak. The Rainiers finally lost on Saturday, but they have still pulled to within six games of the Bees. Tacoma has made up four games in the standings in the past 10 days alone.
"It's the dog days of August. It's a tough month for everybody," said Bees manager Bobby Mitchell. "You've got to push yourself and rise to the occasion, and hopefully we'll be able to do that. We've got to start putting some wins together starting tomorrow."
The Grizzlies pounded the ball against Bees starter Dustin Moseley. Led by first baseman Travis Ishikawa, Fresno scored seven runs on 12 hits in the first five innings. Every Grizzly got in on the action with at least one base hit.
Fresno added four runs in the sixth and two more in the seventh to make sure the Bees wouldn't come back. Ishikawa finished the game with five hits, including two homers and two doubles, to lead the Grizzlies' 19-hit attack.
Salt Lake, meanwhile, was dumbfounded by Fresno starter Ryan Sadowski. He gave up just one hit a solo homer to Bees first baseman Kendry Morales in five strong innings. The Bees managed only five hits for the game.
"There weren't really any positives from that game," said Mitchell. "They outhit us. They outpitched us and they outplayed us."
Salt Lake is now just 10-11 in their past 21 home games. By comparison, Salt Lake was 26-14 at home in their first 40.
"We've got to take care of business ourselves and not worry about other people," said Mitchell. "But at home we struggle sometimes. I don't understand that, but we're better on the road sometimes. It's strange."
The Bees will try to get back on track in the third of the four-game series, which is set for today at 2 p.m. The Bees are scheduled to start Anthony Ortega (1-0, 3.60 ERA) against Fresno's Brad Hennessey (6-8, 5.26 ERA).
BEELINES: Bees second baseman Sean Rodriguez was promoted to the parent Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim prior to the game. Rodriguez has played in 66 games with the Bees this season, hitting .306 with 21 homers and 51 RBIs. He has played in 22 games with the Angels, hitting .185 ... The Bees had a streak of 15 straight games with at least one home run broken on Friday night. During that streak, Salt Lake hitters had a total of 28 homers. ... Attendance for Saturday's game was 10,167.