At 21, Ryan Dalton has his first Triple-A start at catcher under his belt.
For a kid coming straight from extended spring training — Salt Lake Bees manager Keith Johnson called it being “thrust into the fire” — throwing out his first baserunner in Triple-A ball will be a moment for the scrapbook.
“It was a pitchout, so it was easier on myself, but it was cool,” Dalton said. “I thought I swung the bat well. I was a little jittery, a little antsy, but I was able to settle down.”
But Dalton wasn’t the only one who had a memorable moment at Sunday afternoon’s Bees game. Fans who came out to see Salt Lake’s 6-1 loss to Tucson got to see more than a few strange plays that had even experienced scorers flipping through the rule book.
An inside-the-park home run. A catcher’s interference and a runner’s interference on consecutive at-bats. A pitcher fielding a grounder to turn around and flip a double play. A pitchout that went in play.
Veteran ballplayers see these occurrences, but rarely all in the same afternoon. Unfortunately for the Bees, the unusual plays didn’t add up to a victory.
“If you’re a fan, I’m sure you saw some things you haven’t seen in a while,” Johnson said. “But it’s just one game. Tomorrow, we have to come out with an opportunity to split the series with these guys and put together a better effort.”
In the seventh inning, Tucson’s Travis Buck hit a long drive to center field. Trent Oeltjen went after it but couldn’t grab the fly before colliding with the wall. Buck ran through the diamond with plenty of time to spare for a three-run homer, only the third opposing inside-the-park round-tripper in the franchise’s two-decade history.
That extended a lead the Padres held since the second inning, but the Bees’ real problem was the inability to get hits for a second straight game. Despite a quality start by Orangel Arenas, the bats didn’t back him up, finishing with only seven hits and no walks in the contest.
The Bees’ sole run came from the bat of Roberto Lopez, who hit a solo shot to left center in the seventh inning.
Dalton went 0-for-3 in his first Triple-A game, missing a chance for his first hit with an affiliated club. He made a mistake in the fourth, allowing a runner on by putting his glove in the path of a batter’s swing. But the player was called out in the very next at-bat, when he got in the way of a grounder headed straight for second baseman Andrew Romine.
Johnson had praise for Dalton, who surely will have a story to tell when he gets sent back.
“He’s still a little green behind the ears, but he did a great job today,” Johnson said. “I thought he handled himself really well. Even at the plate, I thought he put together some pretty good at-bats.”
Padres 6, Bees 1
P Padres notch only the third opposing inside-the-park home run in Bees history.
• The fourth inning sees a catcher interference and a runner interference on consecutive at-bats.
• Roberto Lopez hits a home run for the Bees only score of the day.