PCL baseball: Catcher's grand slam powers Bees' win over Fresno
Every ballplayer has thought it at least once: If he could only have another chance, one more crack at it â¦
Luke Carlin wasn't left wondering what could've been. After he grounded out in the first with bases loaded, the Fresno Grizzlies gave the Bees catcher another chance. Fabio Castillo walked two batters on the way to Carlin in the third, and the veteran wasn't wasting another opportunity.
"I had a little more determination in that inning," Carlin said. "I just knew he wasn't going to get me out."
Far from it. Carlin found a fat pitch and put his barrel on the ball. It sailed down the right field foul line, just over the wall.
The grand slam was a few more logs on the fire as the Bees (31-32) burned their way to a 9-1 win over the Fresno Grizzlies (30-33) on Saturday night. The visitors learned a lesson the hard way: If you give Luke Carlin another shot at a grand slam, he can cash in.
"That was just a great at-bat," manager Keith Johnson said. "He didn't try to do too much, he was just trying to take a nice, easy swing."
The Bees looked at ease while dominating the Grizzlies early on.
Starter Matt Shoemaker pitched aggressively in eight innings of work, striking out six and not giving up a walk. Behind him, the infield was slick and smooth. The Bees were half a step away from recording the team's first triple play in years, but settled for keeping Fresno 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position.
If Shoemaker hadn't given up a solo shot by Roger Kieschnick, he would had his first shutout of the year. But Johnson said he's starting to see shutout-caliber stuff from the Bees' pitching workhorse.
"He's getting a little crisper with his stuff, which is his M.O.," Johnson said. "You don't go out and pitch as many innings as he does every season without having some good stretch. â¦ Now we're putting it together when he's on the mound, getting him some runs, and he's putting the other team away."
The top half of the lineup was effective for the Bees, as Andrew Romine and Luis Jimenez scored in the first to grab a lead the team kept all game.
Carlin also helped the Bees pile on late, as he and Lopez scored on a sixth-inning single by Romine to draw up a 8-1 lead. Romine later scored on an RBI by Efren Navarro.
Storylines Bees 9, Grizzlies 1
R • Luke Carlin hits a grand slam.
• Starter Matt Shoemaker gives up one run in eight innings.
• Andrew Romine and Efren Navarro each record a pair of RBIs.