Minor league baseball: Rare triple feat highlights big Bees win
As Roberto Lopez rounded into third standing up in the fifth inning, the 4,987 fans at Spring Mobile Ballpark may have seen a feat rarer than a perfect game.
The Salt Lake Bees (28-30) had hit three triples in a row Sunday, thanks to at-bats from Trent Oeltjen, Andrew Romine and Lopez. In the majors, that's only happened twice in the past 32 years.
But as odd as it was, and as fun as it was for the team to see, the important part for the Bees was that the hard hits added up to a 10-1 victory. Salt Lake's bats whipped Colorado Springs (31-24) during the middle innings, and the Bees got a terrific pitching performance from Matt Shoemaker that bagged the team's fourth straight victory.
"It is nice when you get a pitching performance like that to give it some run support," interim manager Bill Richardson said. "Once it gets a little contagious, it goes."
Richardson filled in for Keith Johnson, who was out of town for family reasons.
After three quick innings to start, the Bees found a foothold in the fourth. The bottom of Salt Lake's lineup blitzed starter Drew Carpenter, with six straight batters reaching base on four singles and two walks. The six-run, two-out rally was the uppercut that kept Colorado Springs reeling the rest of the game.
New pitchers didn't bring relief for the Sky Sox. In the fifth, the triples chain helped score three more runs on another two-out rally.
The triples were the talk of the dugout. Just about everyone had never seen three in a row before, including the coaching staff.
"I've been a part of two [in a row], but three, that was the first time," said Romine, who was 3-for-3 at the plate. "That's fun, to throw that in the middle of a game and get excited."
Starter Matt Shoemaker helped make the victory a blowout, pounding the strike zone with his fastball and making hitters miss. He struck out 10 batters in seven innings, the first Bees hurler to accomplish the feat since July 2011.
Shoemaker (4-8) has been arguably the most snake-bitten starter when it's come to run support this season. But on Sunday, he acknowledged it helped to have the lead at his back.
"Stuff-wise, I just wanted to focus on aggressively attacking the zone with the fastball, then moving on with the off-speed, and I think we did that really well." Shoemaker said. "It's always nice to get those runs."
Bees 10, Sky Sox 1
R Salt Lake's Trent Oeltjen, Andrew Romine and Roberto Lopez hit consecutive triples in the fifth.
• The team notches 13 hits with no homers on the day.
• Matt Shoemaker strikes out 10 in a seven-inning start.