The Salt Lake Bees hit the road for the first game of a seven-game Tennessee road trip on Wednesday, hoping to keep up their recent strong play away from Smith’s Ballpark.
Memphis had other ideas, however. The Redbirds scored 10 unanswered runs after spotting the Bees an early three-run lead, cruising to an 11-5 win at AutoZone Park that kept Salt Lake (29-35) in the basement of the Pacific Coast League’s Pacific Southern Division.
Things started off well enough for the Bees, who took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first on Kaleb Cowart’s bases-clearing double that scored Matt Thaiss, Jared Walsh and Jarrett Parker. The Redbirds (28-38) cut the lead to 3-1 on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the inning, but Thaiss hit a solo home run in the top of the second to put the Bees up 4-1.
That’s when things started to go south for Salt Lake. Rangel Ravelo pulled the Redbirds within a run with a two-run home run in the bottom of the third, and Josh Nogowski’s double in the fifth inning drove in Ravelo for the game-tying run.
Memphis then scored five runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to take control of the game. Tyler O’Neill got the Redbirds’ surge started with a bases-loaded RBI single that drove in Edmundo Sosa from third base. Andrew Knizner then scored on a fielder’s choice by Nogowski, and a throwing error by Parker on a fielder’s choice groundball by Evan Mendoza drove in Ravelo to make it 7-4. Kramer Robertson’s RBI single brought Nogowski home and Randy Arozarena’s sac fly to center scored Lane Thomas to extend Memphis’ advantage to five runs.
O’Neill added a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth to cap the Redbirds’ scoring, while Ty Kelly hit an RBI single in the top of the ninth that brought Cowart home with Salt Lake’s final run.
Kelly was 2-for-2 with three walks for the Bees, while Cowart, Walsh and Michael Hermosillo each went 2-for-5. Ravelo, the Redbirds’ cleanup hitter, was 4-for-4 with two RBIs and four runs scored.
The series continued Thursday evening with the second of the three-game set between the Bees and Redbirds. After Friday’s series finale, Salt Lake will head to Nashville for a four-game series with the Sounds.