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Bees begin final homestand with loss

Published August 27, 2012 11:50 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The bat flipped through the air Monday night, the helmet bouncing after it.

Kole Calhoun had just struck out looking to end the bottom of the fifth, a frustrating seven-pitch at-bat closing the Bees' latest scoreless frame. The Salt Lake outfielder had watched two pitches whiz by for an 0-2 count; five pitches later, he was felled by one that nicked the top of the strike zone.

Still four innings away from the 10-6 loss to Tucson (53-84), Calhoun threw his gear aside in frustration and walked toward right field.

That was the story for the Bees (71-66) as they returned to Spring Mobile Ballpark for a season-ending homestand: missed chances, on scales both small and large.

In the single-game vacuum, the Bees merely blew an early sliver of opportunity in front of a crowd of 7,044. The Padres' two-run error gifted Salt Lake with a first-inning lead on a lone base hit — a single by infielder Luis Jimenez that Tucson pitcher Josh Spence mishandled on a toss to third.

The next frame, second baseman Ed Lucas smacked a solo shot to left field. Salt Lake, up 2-0, didn't score again for another five innings — flummoxed as Spence and reliever Brad Boxberger combined to strike out nine.

"That guy mixed up speeds," Salt Lake manager Keith Johnson said of Spence. "He's a tough pitcher. Whatever he was throwing, it was effective. … It was more a tribute to him."

Tucson put down the Bees with slow, painful routine. A three-run third inning unfolded as walk, single, single, single, sac fly, sac fly, walk, groundout. The Padres sprinkled some more excitement into the fourth, an RBI double, triple and single plating a run each.

The Los Angeles Angels called up starting pitcher Garrett Richards last Wednesday, forcing the Bees to lean more heavily on their bullpen.

Tucson totaled 14 hits on the night against a six-man committee, taking a 10-3 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth.

In the big picture, the Bees blew a chance to stoke their dying playoff chances. Salt Lake started the day four games back of Reno for the Pacific North division lead, and one behind second-place Colorado Springs. Storylines Padres 10, Bees 6

R Tucson's fielding error helps give Salt Lake an early 3-0 lead.

• The Bees couldn't hold on, with a six-man committee giving up 14 hits.

• Starter Garrett Richards' call-up to the Angels leaves the Bees hurting for pitching.