PCL baseball: Bees edge Sky Sox to snap losing streak
A little mind game made all the difference for Bill Hall.
The Salt Lake Bees veteran third baseman strode to the plate with his team down a run in the seventh inning Wednesday.
"This game is all about confidence," Hall said. "Sometimes you have to trick yourself into being confident. I've been struggling, so I tricked myself like I've been going good my last at-bat."
Hall rolled a two-run single through the right side to help the Bees snap a seven-game skid with an 8-7 victory over Colorado Springs.
"I'm a big believer you ask for what you get," he said. "You put out good vibes, you're gonna get good vibes."
Hall scored when Efren Navarro smacked a home run over the right-field wall to stake the Bees to an 8-5 lead.
"My previous three at-bats, they were staying away," Navarro said. "Luckily he left a changeup up and right down the middle, and I was able to do something with it."
The Bees offense couldn't muster much through the first six innings. But once Colorado Springs starter Justin Berg gave way to the bullpen, the Bees heated up. They collected five of their 10 hits in the seventh inning, all after Berg departed.
The Bees collected four consecutive hits off Sky Sox reliever Manuel Corpas before he recorded an out, but Navarro answered the out with his homer.
The Bees needed all the runs because the Sky Sox struck for one in the eighth before making things interesting in the ninth.
The Sky Sox led off with a single against Robert Coello, who responded by striking out the next batter. But DJ LeMahieu answered with a double down the first-base line to put runners at second and third. Coello, not to be outdone, struck out Charlie Blackmon on three pitches. Then Tyler Colvin beat out an infield single to score a run and put runners on the corners with two outs and the Bees up one. Coello extinguished the drama by striking out Matt McBride on three pitches.
"That little stretch that we had, the same guys that were getting outs for us were scuffling a little bit," Bees manager Keith Johnson said. "Every time I put someone out there on the mound, I have the utmost confidence that they're going to get outs."
Bees starter Billy Buckner looked strong through the first six innings, striking out nine. But he ran into trouble in the seventh, when he allowed the first three batters to reach before being pulled.
"He was just mixing speeds, and obviously he was working at the bottom of the strike zone," Johnson said. "What that forced them to do was swing a little bit more often, and he was getting a lot of ground ball outs."
The Bees will try to earn a series split when they host the Sky Sox at 6:35 p.m. Thursday.
O The Bees collect five of their 10 hits in the game in the seventh inning, when they scored five runs.
• Bees starting pitcher Billy Bucker strikes out nine.