They have just been putting the work in. Obviously everybody goes through lulls in the season and as a group we are not hitting our best, but guys are starting to find their footing again. —Bees manager Keith Johnson
SALT LAKE CITY – After an offense-heavy April, with many a corresponding victory, the Salt Lake Bees went through a funk of sorts to kick off May.
Nowhere was that more evident than in their most recent series against the Fresno Grizzlies. Salt Lake lost three of the four games in that series and struggled to score throughout, never producing more than four runs in a contest.
A return home to Smith’s Ballpark Thursday night put an end to those struggles.
Led by Chris Carter, who went 4-for-5 with a double and three RBIs, the Bees defeated Hunter Pence and the Sacramento River Cats 12-11 in an offense-heavy affair.
“They have just been putting the work in,” Bees manager Keith Johnson said. “Obviously everybody goes through lulls in the season and as a group we are not hitting our best, but guys are starting to find their footing again.
“We’ve got some guys that can really do some special things and they’ve been finding things that they need to do to be successful.”
FLETCHING: You would be hard-pressed to find a Bees player who has been more on his game through the first 40 games of the season than infielder David Fletcher. The Orange County, California native has been fantastic this season, particularly in games against Sacramento.
In seven games against the River Cats, prior to Thursday’s contest, Fletcher was hitting .406 with eight doubles and six RBIs.
The Angels prospect was even better in his eighth appearance against Sacramento and finished 3 for 4 at the plate, with two doubles, an RBI and two runs scored.
Before the season, at Bees media day, Fletcher told the Deseret News that he wanted to see some improvement at the plate this year, his second in Salt Lake.
“For me I just want to see some overall improvement,” said Fletcher. “I want to be more consistent at the plate. I want to try and stay even all year.”
So far so good.
ROUGH REHAB: Pence manned left field for the River Cats as part of his rehab stint for an injured thumb, and the Bees saw fit to put him through the ringer.
Salt Lake hitters routinely drove the ball into left field, forcing Pence to make play after play.
Of the Bees 17 hits, 13 went to Pence, all before the end of the fifth inning.
No Bees batters had more fondness for the grass in left than Fletcher and Carter. All three of Fletcher's hits went to left, including both doubles.
As for Carter, the slugger, somewhat humorously, hit three singles to Pence, while his RBI double in the fifth was driven to deep left-center field.
Ryan Schimpf, Jose Fernandez, Juan Graterol and Rymer Liriano all enjoyed going to left as well, each recording a single.
Bees - 12
River Cats - 11
In short: The Bees, led by Chris Carter and David Fletcher, had one of their most impressive offensive showings of the year, despite not hitting a single home run.
Up Next: Sacramento RHP Dereck Rodriguez (3-0, 3.13) at Salt Lake City RHP Parker Bridwell (0-0, 9.31), Friday, 6:35 p.m.