Shoemaker helps Bees get off on right foot
With mound visits as frequent as foul balls, the Las Vegas 51s helped stretch out Monday's matchup with the Bees to well over 31/2 hours.
But the result was never much in doubt after a few innings: Salt Lake had pitching, and Vegas did not.
Matt Shoemaker guided the home team Bees (50-42) to a 7-1 victory in the Pacific Coast League series opener against the 51s (46-43) with speed and control in his seventh win of the year. A strong night on the mound combined with a hitting outburst from the lineup against an unsteady Vegas bullpen made it a no-sweat game for Salt Lake.
After the Bees had dealt with their own bullpen issues on Sunday throwing six pitchers after a mix of injuries and a rain delay Shoemaker's seven-inning start was welcome relief.
He allowed five hits, but racked up eight strikeouts against only a single walk. Full counts were not an issue, as Shoemaker routinely got a swing and a miss on his payoff pitches.
By contrast, the 51s pitching situation never recovered after losing starter Giancarlo Alvarado. The 35-year-old suffered an apparent injury in a second-inning rundown and left the game after allowing more baserunners aboard.
Las Vegas proceeded to trot out four more pitchers to stabilize its defense, but no one ever fully controlled the Bees' batters, who broke out for 15 hits on the night. Six Bees had multiple hits, while Chris Nelson and Matt Long each had two RBIs.
The 51s helped them, as well, giving up 10 walks over the night. Vegas didn't strike anyone out until the seventh inning. Salt Lake didn't score in bunches, but spread out a number of consistent innings. Luke Carlin scored in the second off a Drew Heid single. Kole Calhoun tripled in the third, then scored on a Long hit.
Heid, getting his first extended action in Salt Lake this season, scored in the fourth, one of two runs in a 2-for-2 night with a pair of walks.
The insurance inning came in the sixth for the Bees, as the first four batters reached base safely. Luis Rodriguez, Nelson and Long each had RBI singles, tacking on three runs to the team's lead.
Rodriguez scored the final run of the game in the eighth, tagging up on a sacrifice fly by Trent Oeltjen. Jeremy Berg and Daniel Stange each gave Las Vegas a goose-egg pitching in the eighth and ninth innings, respectively.
The win moved the Bees ahead of Colorado Springs (48-42) in the Northern Division standings, behind league-leading Tacoma (54-38).
Storylines Bees 7, 51s 1
R Matt Shoemaker strikes out eight in his 7-inning start.
• Six Bees get multiple hits in the game, two with multiple RBIs
• Roberto Lopez leads with a double and two singles.