The Salt Lake Bees’ season continues to go in the wrong direction, dropping them 17 games out of first place in the Pacific Southern Division and only three games ahead of Memphis for last place in the entire Pacific Coast League.
The Bees lost for the 10th time in the past 13 games Wednesday night, as the Sacramento River Cats came away with an 8-5 win at Smith’s Ballpark in the fourth game of a five-game series. Salt Lake (41-56) is now 18-30 at home this season, and has allowed a PCL-worst 725 runs – 49 more than the next-worst mark. Their minus-96 run differential is also the worst mark in the PCL.
Wednesday’s game got off to a promising start as Jose Rojas and Kaleb Cowart each hit solo home runs in the bottom of the first inning, giving the Bees a 2-0 lead. However, Sacramento (51-46) answered with three runs of its own in the top of the second. The Bees tied the game twice – once at 3-3 on an RBI single by Nick Franklin in the fourth inning, and again on a groundout by Jared Walsh in the fifth – before the River Cats took control of the game in the seventh on home runs by Levi Michael and Mike Gerber.
Cowart cut the lead to 7-5 with an RBI single in the bottom of the seventh, but the Bees got no closer. Rojas and Cowart each went 3-for-4 at the plate and Brennon Lund was 2-for-4. Alex Klonowski fell to 0-5 on the mound this season, allowing four runs on six hits with a strikeout and two walks in four innings, though his earned-run average fell to 9.46. JC Ramírez started the game and allowed three runs on four hits with three strikeouts in three innings. Adam McCreery pitched the next two innings, allowing a run on one hit with two strikeouts and two walks.
The Bees and River Cats split a doubleheader on Tuesday, with Salt Lake winning the opener 12-5 and Sacramento winning the nightcap 8-6. The Bees’ power was on full display early in Game 1, as Rojas homered in each of his first two at-bats and Taylor Ward added another solo shot in the third. Josh Thole hit a two-run single in the fourth as Salt Lake built an early 5-1 lead.
After the River Cats scored twice in the top of the fifth inning to cut into the Bees’ advantage, Rojas and Wilfredo Tovar each hit RBI doubles and Lund had an RBI triple to extend the lead to 8-3. In the sixth, Rojas hit another RBI double, Cowart drew a bases-loaded walk and and Tovar drove in Rojas with a groundout. Walsh later scored on a wild pitch.
Rojas ranks fourth in all of Triple-A with 76 RBIs this season, and his 110 hits rank sixth. He leads Triple-A with 30 doubles and he is second with 216 total bases.
That momentum carried over to the first inning of Game 2, with Walsh hitting a three-run home run and Lund adding an RBI single for an early 4-0 lead. However, Sacramento scored six unanswered runs over the next three innings, and while the Bees tied the game in the bottom of the sixth on RBI singles by Roberto Peña and Bo Way, Aramis Garcia’s two-run home run in the top of the seventh put the River Cats ahead to stay.
The Bees wrapped up their series with the River Cats on Thursday evening. They will open a three-game series against Las Vegas on Friday, with Albuquerque coming to town for a three-game set beginning Tuesday.