Another day, another call-up, another loss.
The unhappy cycle continued for the Bees on Friday.
Hours after all-time hits leader Efren Navarro left to join the parent Los Angeles Angles, Salt Lake dropped its fourth straight game in a series-to-forget against Las Vegas.
Starter Rafael Montero didn’t allow a base hit into the sixth and Zach Lutz drove in a pair of runs to lead the 51s to a 6-3 victory at Smith’s Ballpark.
Facing the best team in the Pacific Coast League, the Bees tried to rally after trailing, 4-0. But they stranded five runners over the final three innings and fell short.
Salt Lake lost six of eight games on its just-completed home stand.
“At some point, we’re going to come out of this,” said manager Keith Johnson. “Right now, we have a group of guys who are going through bad stretches. Most teams, you have a guy here and a guy there. But we have a group of guys going through a few things.”
Playing without early-season offensive leaders Grant Green, C.J. Cron and Navarro — all now with the Angels — Salt Lake slipped to 13-23 this season.
“We want to win,” Johnson said. “... We want these guys to feel the fruits of their labor. At the same time, the goal is to get them to the major leagues and contribute to a winning club up there. And we’ve had a bunch of guys do that. Does it hurt the team here? Yes. But does it help the guys? Is it what we’re here for? Yes.”
Las Vegas took a 2-0 lead into the sixth inning, when the Bees got their first hit after 51s manager Wally Backman replaced Montero because the righthander had thrown 98 pitches.
Salt Lake quickly got back into the game.
Taylor Lindsey, the first batter to face reliever Buddy Carlyle, doubled into the right field corner. He scored on Brennan Boesch’s two-out single.
In the seventh, the Bees made it 4-3 on Shawn O’Malley’s sacrifice fly and J.B. Shuck’s RBI single. But that’s as close as they got.
“The major league team is about to get healthier,” Johnson said. “We’ll get some guys back from up-top. So we’ll see how things go.”
Storylines 51s 6, Bees 3
R Salt Lake goes into the sixth inning without a hit and eventually loses to Las Vegas.
• The Bees play without all-time hits leader Efren Navarro, who was called up by the Angels.