The Salt Lake Bees lost the final four games of their most recent homestand, a stretch capped by a 5-2 loss to the New Orleans Baby Cakes on Monday at Smith’s Ballpark in Salt Lake City.
The Bees (49-65) saw their magic number for elimination from playoff contention dwindle to 10, meaning any combination of 10 Bees losses or wins by first-place Las Vegas or El Paso would seal Salt Lake’s fate. The Bees now have the worst home win percentage in the Pacific Coast League (23-39, .371) and the third-worst record overall, ahead of only Nashville and Albuquerque.
Monday’s game got off to a promising start, as starting pitcher Nick Tropeano tossed six shutout innings, allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out six. The Bees took a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning on an RBI triple by Nick Franklin and an RBI single by Jo Adell. But the wheels came off in the seventh, as reliever Jason Alexander gave up five runs to New Orleans (61-51) and Salt Lake never recovered. The Bees had their chances, but were just 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
In Sunday’s contest, the Bees spotted New Orleans a seven-run lead en route to an 8-2 loss. The Baby Cakes didn’t allow a run until Michael Hermosillo’s leadoff home run in the bottom of the sixth inning against New Orleans reliever Jordan Milbrath. Franklin added an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth for the Bees, who had just four total hits.
Salt Lake starting pitcher Matt Ball allowed five runs on eight hits with three strikeouts and three walks in 2 2/3 innings and was credited with the loss.
Saturday’s game saw the Bees give up seven runs on four home runs over the first three innings before closing the gap to 7-5, but New Orleans pulled away for a 13-6 win. Jared Walsh hit a three-run home run and Jarrett Parker added a sacrifice fly in the third, and Adell scored on an error in the fourth as Salt Lake rallied. However, the Bees wouldn’t score again until the bottom of the ninth inning, when Adell scored on a Justin Bour double to right.
Yoel De Leon, making his Triple-A debut on the mound, allowed seven runs on five hits with three strikeouts and three walks in 2 2/3 innings for the Bees.
The Bees squandered an early 4-1 lead on Friday as the Baby Cakes rallied for a 10-6 win. Walsh put Salt Lake up 1-0 in the first inning with an RBI single that drove in Bour. Bour hit a solo home run and Walsh added a two-run blast in the third, but New Orleans scored nine unanswered runs and kept the Bees off the board until Franklin’s two-run double in the bottom of the ninth.
Salt Lake’s weekend swoon was preceded by a 14-4 blowout victory over the Oklahoma City Dodgers on Thursday night. The Bees pounded out 17 hits — six of which went for extra bases. Their offensive outburst began with a six-run second inning, keyed by RBI doubles by Jose Rojas, Kaleb Cowart and Wilfredo Tovar. Taylor Ward scored on a wild pitch, Adell had an RBI single and Hermosillo added a sacrifice fly.
The Bees stretched their advantage to 9-3 in the fourth on an RBI single by Hermosillo and a two-run home run by Walsh. Anthony Bemboom hit a solo home run in the sixth. Ward scored on a groundout by Cowart and Rojas scored on a fielder’s choice by Tovar in the seventh, and Ward’s RBI double and Bemboom’s RBI single in the eighth capped the scoring.
Reliever Jose Rodriguez picked up the win on the mound with three shutout innings, giving up one hit and four walks with one strikeout. Parker Bridwell started for the Bees, giving up four runs on five hits with eight strikeouts and a walk in 4 2/3 innings.
The Bees will be back in action Wednesday as they begin a seven-game road trip to the Midwest. They will face the Omaha Storm Chasers for three games before a four-game set against the Iowa Cubs. Their next home game is Aug. 15 against the El Paso Chihuahuas.