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Minor league baseball: Late rally lifts Salt Lake over Iowa

Published July 31, 2013 10:46 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Since losing key players to recent call-ups, several Bees have talked about having a "next man up" mentality this week.

As Iowa Cubs pitcher Marcus Hatley was sorry to find out, the club takes that very seriously.

Salt Lake (63-49) broke out with a four-run rally in the seventh inning Wednesday night, thanks in part to five straight singles to kick off the rally. As soon as one man got a hit, the next was ready as well, it seemed.

"It's something you see and it's contagious," second baseman Grant Green said. "It's nice to know even late in games with this club — and I've seen it before — that maybe you have one or two runs going into the seventh, eighth or ninth, but you know at any point, they're ready to strike."

The Bees were able to hang on for a 6-3 win against Iowa, which couldn't make a dent against Salt Lake's pitching until it was far too late.

Green, who was shipped to the Bees in a trade Wednesday morning, was among the standouts, going 2 for 5 while scoring a pair of runs. His chopping single led off the burst of hitting in the seventh, as Efren Navarro, Roberto Lopez, Trent Oeltjen and Scott Cousins followed suit.

Hatley was yanked after giving up a walk to Drew Heid — his sixth baserunner allowed. The Bees' four runs that inning secured their lead and helped it stand past the Cubs' own rally in the eighth.

A dominant start by the Bees pitching staff helped seal up the result. Starter Billy Buckner didn't give up a hit over four innings, but was constrained by a pitch limit making his first start since returning from the Angels. Still, Mike Ekstrom and Chad Cordero kept the Cubs scoreless through seven.

It was Cordero who faltered in the eighth, giving up three runs on four hits. But Fernando Cabrera and Kevin Johnson swept up and kept Iowa from crossing the plate again.

Manager Keith Johnson said he was glad to see the team's recent roster additions — Green, Buckner and Cousins — blend in well with a team that is holding onto first place in the division.

"You never know what you're going to have, but like I said, these guys whoever come in just fold right in," Johnson said. "There's not any blips on the radar, so to speak, when we lose pieces or add pieces. The train just keeps going."

The Bees couldn't string some runs together until the fourth, when Cousins managed to get on base after striking out, thanks to a wild pitch. The outfielder, making his return off the disabled list, was batted home by Heid's deep triple to center.

Luis Rodriguez withdrew from his third at-bat after an injury to his finger forced him out in the fifth. But Lopez stepped in to hit a sacrifice fly that scored Green for another run and finished 1 for 2 with two RBIs on the night — his second straight game coming in at third mid-contest.

Johnson said the team would further evaluate Rodriguez's injury on Thursday.

kgoon@sltrib.comTwitter: @kylegoon

Pioneer League

Owlz 9, Chukars 3 • Kody Eaves hit a three-run homer in the second inning to help lift Orem (21-18) over Idaho Falls.

Raptors 9, Rockies 6 • Austin Cowen went 3 for 4 with two doubles as Ogden (21-18) rallied for three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to beat Grand Junction. —

Bees 6, Cubs 3

O Salt Lake takes a 2-0 series lead with the win.

• Five Bees hit consecutive singles in the seventh inning.

•Â New infielder Grant Green finishes 2 for 5 with two runs.