PCL: Bees falter to Fresno despite massive early lead
For the fans who could bear to sit through the 35-minute seventh inning, they had every right to be slack-jawed by the end of it.
In the third inning how long ago it was a comeback seemed impossible as the Bees sat on a towering 11-0 lead. Even a grand slam in the fourth was hardly a dent.
But uneven pitching and defensive mistakes helped wash it all away as Fresno (30-31) surged with a 10-run inning in the seventh. And that shut the book on the Bees (29-32), who played half a game before giving the rest away, ultimately falling 15-13.
"We just made some big errors that let a few more guys come to the plate," outfielder Kole Calhoun said. "They took advantage of everything, every pitch."
It was the first time the Bees had given up 10 runs in an inning since May 2011. The seventh took four pitchers and 14 batters to get through, as Billy Buckner, Mitch Stetter and David Carpenter couldn't seem get the third out. Fresno outfielder Roger Kieschnick hit a homer and a three-run double for five RBIs on his own in the inning.
They were also hampered by uncharacteristic defensive mistakes. Luis Jimenez, Andrew Romine and Tommy Field each committed an error, which helped contribute to a much longer game.
"We had opportunities to get outs, and we tried to make too good of a play," manager Keith Johnson said. "We threw the ball around a little bit and gave them life."
Peter Bourjos' return to Salt Lake on a rehab stint started out as well as could be. Batting leadoff as the designated hitter, the major league regular slammed a homer to left field in his first at-bat.
That set the early tone, as the Bees kept swatting away at Grizzlies starter Mitch Lively. The top five in the order did most of the damage, combining for nine hits and seven runs in the first three innings. Matt Long, Jimenez, Romine, Bourjos and Efren Navarro each had two hits in their first three at-bats.
But the auspicious start eroded as the game stretched through the middle innings. Buckner's sharp command he had six strikeouts in four innings started to go south, and a grand slam was a sign of further struggles.
Johnson didn't pull his starter until the seventh, shortly after Buckner had given up a two-run homer to Kieschnick. But the bullpen held no answers for Salt Lake, until Ryan Brasier finally struck out Johnny Monnell to end it.
"This is a tough one to swallow," said Navarro, whose franchise record-tying four doubles in the game couldn't add up to a win. "It's part of the game. â¦ It's over with, we'll worry about tomorrow."
Storylines Grizzlies 15, Bees 13
R The Bees fall despite leading 11-0 in the third inning.
• Fresno takes the lead on a 10-run seventh inning.
• Efren Navarro hits four doubles in the loss.