Sean O'Sullivan, not too long removed from a bout with the flu, looked every bit the tired man between innings Monday night as he trudged to and from the pitcher's mound.
However, when Salt Lake's burly right-hander was on the hill, he made Tacoma look sick.
Unfortunately for the 22-year-old, the Bees' bullpen couldn't finish what O'Sullivan started, as the Rainiers scored two runs in the ninth to take a 5-4 victory.
Still, O'Sullivan appears back on track for an eventual return to Los Angeles.
"The last couple days I've been battling the flu," O'Sullivan said. "I didn't have a whole lot of energy."
While O'Sullivan didn't get his second win, there were few complaints about Monday's start or the one before. His forgettable first start, when he couldn't get past the fourth inning, is ancient history.
"I don't [think] mentally I was in the right place," said O'Sullivan about his opening performance. "I was trying to place [my pitches] in the zone instead of blasting through the zone."
On what should have been his second consecutive victory, O'Sullivan had great command of his pitches, including the change-up that had several Tacoma players waving at air. He showed flashes of the form that highlighted his no-hit performance in 2009.
"O'Sullivan pitched great," Salt Lake manager Bobby Mitchell said. "Especially after having the flu. He gave us all we could hope for."
In 62?3 innings, the San Diego native allowed two runs on three hits, while walking two and striking out six. O'Sullivan had retired nine Rainier hitters in a row, including five on strikes. Eventually, he ran out of gas, prompting Mitchell to bring the hook after a Greg Halman double.
"You always want to get the win," O'Sullivan said. "Ninety-nine percent of the time, the guys are going to come in and get that done."
O'Sullivan, an Angels third-round draft choice in 2005, won six of 10 decisions for Salt Lake in 2009. One of five rookie pitchers to make their major league debut for Los Angeles last year, O'Sullivan won four times for the big club.
This included O'Sullivan's big league debut against San Francisco, when he allowed one run in seven innings.
"The big thing from last year was getting command of my off-speed pitches," O'Sullivan said. " ... You can't pump the heat when you're behind in the count."
After scoring three runs in the first inning, Salt Lake manages just one more run.
» Tacoma scores four runs in the final three innings, including two in the ninth.
» Peter Bourjos and Terry Evans combine to collect four of Salt Lake's nine hits.