Tacoma’s Xavier Avery belted the first pitch over the right-field fence Thursday night, and it was all downhill from there for the Salt Lake Bees in their first-ever nationally televised game from Smith’s Ballpark.
Avery’s blast off Bees starter Chris Volstad, who otherwise pitched well, was all the scoring the Rainiers would need as they defeated Salt Lake 4-1 in front of a nice crowd of 10,752 and who knows how many viewers on CBS Sports Network.
With the cable and satellite network making the contest its Minor League Baseball Game of the Week, the Bees’ bats went silent for the second straight night even as Gov. Gary Herbert extolled the virtues of the state on the TV broadcast.
Since scoring three runs in the first inning of Wednesday’s 5-3 loss, the Bees have registered just one run in their last 17 innings.
Volstad sailed into the seventh inning after his first delivery of the game left the yard, but gave up a single to Humberto Quintero and an RBI triple to Julio Morban before being relieved by Yoslan Herrera. Tacoma’s Ty Kelly hit a two-run homer off Herrera in the eighth inning — his 15th dinger of the season.
The Bees (46-67) stranded 12 base runners and were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position. They got just five hits off four Tacoma pitchers.
Salt Lake’s best chance to make a game of it came during the fifth, when Tacoma starter Forrest Snow walked Luis Jimenez and Brennan Boesch, and hit Roberto Lopez with a pitch.
Bees slugger Tommy Field greeted reliever Blake Beavan with a towering shot down the left field line, but umpires ruled the would-be grand slam a foul ball and Field struck out a few pitches later.
Luis Jimenez drove in Shawn O’Malley in the ninth for Salt Lake’s only run.
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