Tucson knocks Salt Lake from playoff race
The Salt Lake Bees' attempt to reach the Pacific Coast League playoffs ended Wednesday night at Spring Mobile Ballpark.
Tucson handed Salt Lake its third straight loss, 6-4, and eliminated the Bees from the race for the Pacific Northern Division championship.
Led by star prospect Mike Trout, Salt Lake went 14-6 during its first 20 games this season.
But after Trout was called up by the Los Angeles Angels on April 28, the Bees lost 10 of 11 games.
They continued to struggle through the middle of the season, when injuries at the major league level kept the roster fluid.
Salt Lake's postseason chances seemed impossible before the Bees went 20-8 between July 29 and Aug. 26.
Heading into their final eight-game homestand, Salt Lake was within sight of division-leading Reno and second-place Colorado Springs.
The Bees couldn't maintain their momentum, however.
"In the beginning, when we had some continuity in our lineup, we were playing some pretty good ball," said Bees manager Keith Johnson.
"In the middle, when everything was getting shook up and our major league team had some injuries, we played inconsistent baseball."
With only five games left, the Bees are 71-68. They need two victories to finish with a winning record, which Johnson considers "a big deal" after Salt Lake's midseason woes.
"It's huge," he said. "It would say something about this team."
In what turned out to be the Bees' elimination game, Tucson grabbed a 3-0 lead in the first inning, when it parlayed three hits, a walk and an error into three runs.
It was 5-3 in the bottom of the third when the Bees loaded the bases with nobody out.
John Hester jumped ahead in the count, 3-0. But Padres starter Thad Weber came all the way back and struck him out.
The threat ended when Trevor Crowe's sharp ground ball was turned into an inning-ending double play.
It turned out to be Salt Lake's best chance to overtake the Padres.
Raptors 18, Owlz 11 • In a game where the runs kept coming, even a six-run eighth inning followed by two more in the bottom of the ninth wasn't enough for Orem's rally attempt as the Owlz fell at home. Ogden piled on nine runs in the top of the fourth inning and had five more in the seventh.
Storylines Padres 6, Bees 4
R Tucson eliminates Salt Lake from the PCL playoff race with a victory at Spring Mobile Ballpark.
• Trevor Crowe and Matt Long go 2 for 4 with a double, but the Bees drop their third straight to the Padres.