The sound coming from Smith’s Ballpark on Wednesday night might have been from another colossal collapse by the Salt Lake Bees’ bullpen.
Las Vegas scored five runs in two innings off five relief pitchers and eventually prevailed, 7-5, in the 10th.
Salt Lake suffered its third straight give-away defeat, which started with another breakdown by the bullpen in a 7-6 loss to Reno on Monday night.
This time, manager Keith Johnson’s relief pitchers could not protect a 5-2 lead after starter Matt Shoemaker turned in a strong 100-pitch performance. He scattered eight hits and struck out 11 -- one shy of his career-high.
“He had a nice mix going,” Johnson said. “He was able to keep them off balance. He did a great job of attacking the strike zone.”
What was his bullpen’s biggest problem?
“Not getting outs,” Johnson said tersely.
After Las Vegas scored a run in the top of the eighth inning, Salt Lake took a 5-3 lead into the ninth.
The 51s scored once to make it 5-4 before tying the game when Bees’ reliever Yoslan Herrera missed with a 3-2 pitch and walked Brandon Allen with the bases loaded.
Moments later, Las Vegas nearly took the lead. But first baseman Roberto Lopez made a nice play on Anthony Seratelli’s hard ground ball behind the bag to retire the side.
After the Bees were retired in order, the 51s took their first lead in the top of the 10th.
Daniel Muno singled off Salt Lake righthander Jeremy Berg. He was bunted to second and scored the tie-breaking run on Eric Campbell’s double that hit the foul line in right field.
One out later, Wilmer Flores kept the inning alive with an infield hit before Allan Dykstra singled to left and scored Campbell with an insurance run.
In all, the Salt Lake bullpen allowed eight hits and walked five batters in the eighth, ninth and 10th innings.
What did Johnson tell his players after the loss?
“There’s a game tomorrow,” he said.