After feasting on the Pacific Coast League’s worst team in beating last-place Albuquerque five out of six times, reality struck the Salt Lake Bees in the first two games of their series against the Oklahoma City Dodgers at Smith’s Ballpark.
Salt Lake (48-61) dropped the first two games of a three-game series against OKC, losing 9-3 in the series opener Tuesday and 5-3 in a rain-delayed contest Wednesday night. The Dodgers (51-57) are currently in last place in the Pacific Coast League’s American Southern Division, but have won nine of their past 12 games and are one of Triple-A baseball’s hottest teams of late.
Gavin Lux gave OKC the lead in Wednesday’s contest with an RBI single to left that drove in Shane Peterson in the top of the fifth inning. Austin Barnes’ RBI single, along with an error by Salt Lake third baseman Kaleb Cowart, helped make it 2-0 in the seventh, and Edwin Rios’ sacrifice fly to left later in the inning put the Dodgers up 3-0.
Jarrett Parker pulled the Bees within a run with a two-run single to right in the bottom of the eighth inning, driving in Jared Walsh and Michael Hermosillo. However, the Dodgers responded with an RBI double to left by Kyle Garlick and an infield RBI single by Connor Joe in the ninth inning to restore their three-run advantage.
Taylor Ward’s solo home run to center field in the bottom of the ninth gave the Bees a chance late, but they were unable to complete the comeback.
Salt Lake starter Nick Tropeano was the hard-luck loser, allowing just one run on four hits with eight strikeouts and no walks in a strong five-inning performance. Reliever Jason Alexander allowed three runs on six hits with two strikeouts and four walks in 3 2/3 innings, and Luke Bard gave up a run on two hits in one-third of an inning.
The Bees saw their four-game winning streak come to a close Tuesday evening as Oklahoma City won the series opener. Salt Lake led 2-0 after home runs by Walsh and Justin Bour in the third inning, but the Dodgers tied the game on a two-run home run by Kyle Garlick in the top of the fourth. Rios’ three-run homer in the top of the fifth stretched Oklahoma City’s lead to 5-2, and Drew Jackson added a solo shot in the top of the sixth.
After an RBI double by Garlick put the Dodgers up 7-2 in the seventh, the Bees’ Anthony Bemboom drove in Cowart with an RBI single to right in the eighth to close the gap to four runs. However, the Dodgers’ DJ Peters put an exclamation point on things with a two-run homer to left in the top of the ninth.
The Bees and Dodgers wrapped up their three-game series Thursday evening at Smith’s Ballpark. Salt Lake will open a four-game series at home against the New Orleans Baby Cakes on Friday before beginning a seven-game road trip to Omaha and Iowa on Wednesday.