SALT LAKE CITY — With Salt Lake trailing 11-9 and entering the bottom of the seventh inning Monday night the Bees had their shot. Jose Briceno walked, Sherman Johnson singled and leadoff hitter Eric Young singled. The Bees had the bases loaded, with no outs and slugger Kaleb Cowart at the plate.
Cowart, who already had three hits squared up and ripped a shot up the middle that was caught by Isotope second baseman Derrik Gibson.
The second baseman alertly threw to second, forcing a second out and thwarting another Salt Lake rally as Albuquerque won the final game of a three-game series with Salt Lake, 12-9.
The Bees looked sharp early, scoring runs in the first and second innings.
In the first, Young Jr. singled up the middle, advanced on a wild pitch and scored off a Cowart, broken-bat single to give Salt Lake a 1-0 advantage. Right-fielder Jabari Blash hit his league-leading ninth home run in the second, another tape-measure shot, that gave the Bees a 2-0 run lead.
The Isotopes pushed across four in the third and five in the fifth, taking a 9-3 lead into the bottom of the fourth. Salt Lake answered with four runs in the bottom of the fourth, with the big blow coming from designated hitter Chris Carter who delivered a 2-run home run.
After giving up two runs in the top of the sixth, Cowart and David Fletcher scored to cut the Isotopes lead to 11-9. Albuquerque added a final run in their half of the eighth inning.
Three Bees players, Young Jr., Cowart and Blash finished with three hits. Blash and Cowart both drove in three runs to lead the offensive effort.
In Monday's game, there was a total of 29 hits and 10 pitchers used between both squads.
Tough road trip: The Bees hit the road Tuesday for a five-game series that starts Wednesday against league-leading El Paso. Salt Lake returns to Smith’s Ballpark for a six-game homestand against Fresno and Las Vegas that begins on Monday, April 30.
Bees' power is unparalleled: In April of 2017, the Bees hit just 11 home runs. Over the three-game series with Albuquerque, Keith Johnson’s crew hit 12. For the year, Salt Lake has 38 home runs in 2018, the most in all of minor league baseball.
Finding his stride: Bees starting pitcher Felix Pena continues his move from the bullpen to starting pitcher. Pena looked solid through 2 2/3 innings, striking out five while working on a designated pitch count.