The Triple-A All-Star Break did nothing to help the struggling Salt Lake Bees, who have now lost eight of their past 10 games to fall into last place in the Pacific Southern Division.
Salt Lake (40-54), tied with Nashville for the second-worst record in the Pacific Coast League, has lost four of five games since Wednesday’s All-Star Game, including a 12-11 loss to Sacramento in the first game of an 11-game homestand Monday at Smith’s Ballpark. The Bees fell behind 10-1 in the first two innings and trailed 12-3 after five, but scored four times in the seventh and ninth innings to give themselves a chance. Three position players — Jose Rojas, Kaleb Cowart and Nick Franklin — combined to pitch three scoreless innings, while starter Jason Alexander allowed 10 runs on 11 hits and didn’t record an out in the second inning.
Jared Walsh was 2-for-5 with a home run, a double and three RBIs, and Wilfredo Tovar was 3-for-5 with a double and three RBIs.
On Sunday, the Bees wrapped up a four-game series in Las Vegas with an 11-4 loss to the Aviators. Vegas blew open a 5-4 game with four runs in the sixth inning and two more in the seventh. Cowart, Walsh and Taylor Ward all homered for the Bees in the loss.
Las Vegas won Saturday’s game 13-9, pulling away from Salt Lake with four runs in the eighth innings before staving off a late rally in the top of the ninth. Ward and Cowart homered and Walsh was 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles and two RBIs. Starting pitcher Jaime Barria allowed nine runs on 12 hits in 4 2/3 innings and took the loss for the Bees on the mound.
The Bees’ lone win since the All-Star break came Friday evening when Salt Lake defeated Las Vegas 10-7. The Bees overcame a 7-6 deficit after eight innings, taking the lead on Walsh’s three-run home run in the ninth and adding an insurance run on Brennon Lund’s RBI double that drove in Michael Hermosillo.
In Thursday’s series opener in Las Vegas, the Aviators rolled to a 13-3 win over the Bees. Rojas hit a solo home run, while Cowart and Ty Kelly each drove in runs with sacrifice flies. Both Bees pitchers struggled, with starter JC Ramírez allowing seven runs on 10 hits, including four home runs, in five innings. Reliever Dillon Peters allowed six more runs on five hits, two of which were home runs, in three innings.
The Bees were scheduled to host Sacramento in a doubleheader Tuesday at Smith’s Ballpark in Salt Lake City, with additional games against the River Cats slated for Wednesday and Thursday. They will then play host to Las Vegas for three games from Friday through Sunday, with another three-game series against Albuquerque from July 23-25 before a quick three-game trip to Albuquerque July 26-28.