SALT LAKE CITY — Win. Lose. Win. Lose.
The Salt Lake Bees were once again on the wrong end of the back-and-forth pendulum that has dictated the outcome of their games for the past two weeks, suffering an 8-5 loss to the Las Vegas 51s Tuesday at Spring Mobile Ballpark.
After recording a six-game win streak in the middle of June, the Bees have followed a win with a loss 15 times in their past 17 outings, falling to 50-43 overall and 5-5 against Las Vegas.
The 51s got off to a hot start, recording a Ruben Tejada single, a Zach Lutz double, and a Mike Baxter triple in the first four batters to score two runs in the top of the first inning.
Fast forward to the sixth inning, when Las Vegas second baseman Rylan Sandoval singled to center field, followed by two Bees fielding errors, and the 51s extended their lead to 5-2.
Two more singles, a double and a couple of defensive miscues led to three additional 51s runs in the top of the eighth inning.
In spite of giving up the early extra-base hits, Salt Lake starting pitcher Jarrett Grube gave up just four hits total and struck out five batters in his four innings on the mound. However, a collection of fielding and mental errors impeded the Bees’ efforts.
Salt Lake countered with a single run in five different innings but could never establish enough momentum to take over. Third baseman Chris Nelson doubled in the second and eventually reached home on a Matt Long sacrifice fly to center, and then center fielder Kole Calhoun doubled in the third and moved around with a two-out single by Nelson.
After three scoreless half innings, first baseman Efren Navarro made it safely to first after hitting into a fielder’s choice and made it home on a Roberto Lopez single two batters later; Long tripled in the eighth prior to a Tommy Field RBI single; and John Hester hit and RBI single to score Luis Rodriguez in the ninth.
Field finished 4 for 5, Calhoun 3 for 5 and Nelson 2 for 2.
Winning pitcher Jacob deGrom allowed eight hits but gave up just two runs and struck out four in six complete innings. The Bees totaled 17 hits, a handful more than the 51s output of 10 hits, but left 13 runners on base and were just 5 for 18 with runners in scoring position.
Sarah Thomas earned a degree in Mathematics from the University of Utah and is currently pursuing an MBA at Westminster College. She has been covering sports for the Deseret News since 2008.