The big lead is the big problem for the Trappers, who can't hold it.
They had a 10-5 lead Friday against Idaho Falls and lost 11-10; they were up 7-1 on the Braves Saturday and won 7-5; they were ahead 5-0 at Butte Monday and lost 8-7; they were up 7-2 Tuesday against Pocatello and won 8-4.Wednesday against Pocatello in Derks Field, a 7-2 lead vanished, and the Giants won 8-7.
Pocatello, which plays the Trappers tonight and Friday in Derks and then hosts them for three holiday-weekend games, is 4-6; the Traps fell to 5-5.
"We're losing it at about the same point every time," said Trapper Manager Barry Moss. "It's in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings. It's a middle relief problem.
"At Butte to start the season, it was a lack of pitchers (an eight-man staff). But after that, the last seven games, it's a lack of production."
Moss looked squarely at his middle-relief pitching, which is going to get a shakeup starting tonight, when a starter will sit in the bullpen, and Moss also gave a glance to nonexistent late-inning run production.
Wednesday, Trapper starter Fred Riscen, who threw a 13-strikeout, two-hit shutout in his first appearance, gave up two first-inning runs. "He's had trouble getting started. He's said the first inning is his tough one," Moss said.
Riscen got out of the second, third and fourth in good shape, then surrendered a three-run fifth that included Jack Penrod's two-run homer to the deepest part of center field.
That caught the Giants up to 7-5.
Moss noted that what should have been a third-out double-play ball hit by Adam Hilpert in the fifth "takes a hop on (Kelly) Zane, and he has to get just one out." Penrod was the next man up.
Riscen carried through the sixth and gave way to Ed Ramirez's one-walk seventh before the Giants struck again.
Meanwhile, the Trappers had just one hit from the middle of the third inning to the ninth and then managed just one more infield single. They had six hits in the first three innings, including Greg Ehmig's two-run homer in the first, his fifth of the season.
While Trapper relief pitching failed, Pocatello's did the job. "That's really important for us," said Manager Jack Hiatt, whose starting pitchers this week are aged 17, 22, 17 and 19. "(David) Wuthrick and (Steve) Reed kept them from scoring, and with the wind blowing so hard, you never know what will happen if you just get some zeroes."
What happened was Penrod's homer and a three-run eighth inning started by an infield hit by Jesus Laya.
The Giants thought their rally was ill-fated when Greg Lee was hit by a ball he batted and declared out, but David Booth singled and David Slavin walked to load bases for Brad Torgeson's two-out RBI walk.
Sean Johnson relieved Ramirez, and Rueben Smiley punched a two-run single to win the game.
"The biggest base hit of the ballgame," recounted Hiatt. "Two out, they bring a left-hander in to pitch to him, and he got a nice base hit. He's played very consistent for us, done a very nice job."
"He's tearing up the league," Moss said of Smiley, "but it doesn't matter. What's happening is, we're walking batters early in innings and setting up the innings for them. We can't help them out with baserunners."
Moss said it was the third straight time he'd brought Johnson in to throw to a lefty in crucial situations, and he's failed all three times.
Trapper catcher Bill Fellows, whose double in the fifth was Salt Lake's last hard hit of the game, was robbed to start the eighth when Booth made a wall-crashing grab of his foul ball.
In the ninth, Salt Lake threatened when Zane got an infield single, was bunted to second and grounded to third, but Booth caught Tommy Boyce's fly ball to end it.
Fellows was the only Trapper with two hits. For Pocatello, Andre George, Smiley, Penrod and Laya had two each.
Salt Lake built its big lead in the second by batting 10 men and scoring four of the five runs after two were out. Allison, who'd doubled, scored on a double-play ball, as did Chris Sloniger, who'd walked. After walks to Rick Hurni and Zane, Peralta's single drove in two, and Boyce singled in one.