The Salt Lake Bees’ quest to make the playoffs was delivered a blow by Fresno Grizzlies’ starting pitcher Trent Thorton. Working efficiently and walking none, Thorton held the home team to two runs in eight strong innings of work. Although the Bees’ pitching staff, led by starter Manny Banuelos, pitched well, it wasn’t good enough as Fresno held on for a 4-2 victory. Salt Lake relinquished its hold on first place in the Pacific South division for the first time since May 28, with just two games remaining.
Bees MVP: On a night in which the Bees offense was mostly stagnant, second baseman Rey Navarro did his best to keep the Bees in the game. Navarro went 2 for 4 with a double, and scored one of the Bees’ two runs.
Hidden Hero: Catcher Jose Briceno had a very busy night behind the plate. Blocking several wild pitches and balls in the dirt, Briceno left Grizzlies’ baserunners A.J. Reed and Rico Noel stranded at third in the first and fourth innings, preventing a pair of runs.
Turning point: Grizzlies right fielder Drew Ferguson was inches away from recording a three-run homer in the fifth. Instead, the ball caromed off the top of the left-field wall for a bases-clearing two-run double, giving Fresno a two-run lead from which Salt Lake wouldn’t recover.
Flashing Leather: In the fifth with the Grizzlies’ Alejandro Garcia at third, Fresno center fielder Rico Noel hit a ball into no-man’s land between the pitcher and catcher. Bees pitcher Drew Gagnon charged hard on the ball, scooped it up and tossed the ball with his glove to Briceno in the nick of time for a putout at home plate.
Quote worthy: “That guy tonight (Thorton) really pounded the zone and made us swing at pitches early in the count,” manager Keith Johnson said. “I know my guys are giving me everything they’ve got right now, and that’s all that I can ask. Everybody in that clubhouse is doing everything they can to win.”
Angle Angle: C.J. Cron, who spent a good portion of the season with Salt Lake, was the hero for the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday night. Trailing by two runs with two out in the ninth, Cron launched a two-run bomb to tie the game with the Texas Rangers 4-4. The Angels would tack on three runs in the 10th to defeat the Rangers 7-4, keeping pace in the hunt for the wild card.
What’s Next: Salt Lake Bees RHP Jaime Barria (2-0, 0.00) vs. Fresno Grizzlies LHP Kent Emanuel (1-2, 7.45) Sunday, 7:05 p.m., Smith’s Ballpark.