Cashman Field long ago earned a reputation as a launching pad, but the aging ballpark proved to be a pitcher's paradise for the 51s in their 28th season opener Thursday.
Starter Brad Mills allowed two hits and struck out nine in six scoreless innings and three Las Vegas relievers held Salt Lake to one hit and no runs as the 51s blanked the Bees 2-0 in front of a crowd of 5,456.
"Millsy was outstanding and the bullpen was outstanding. The guys threw the ball extremely well," first-year 51s manager Dan Rohn said. "It's good for the guys to get a win under their belt, especially when you don't want to spoil a pitching performance like that."
Las Vegas, involved in a shutout on Opening Day for the first time, has won nine of its last 10 home openers.
51s third baseman Christian Colonel lined an RBI single to right field in the seventh inning to give Las Vegas a 1-0 lead, and center fielder Jorge Padilla added a sacrifice fly later in the inning to make it 2-0.
Sean Henn (1-0), who relieved Mills in the seventh inning, got the win.
David Purcey, who will pitch out of the bullpen this season after leading Las Vegas in wins (nine) and strikeouts (109) as a starter last year, threw a scoreless eighth and Rommie Lewis struck out one in the ninth for the save.
"It was a good, solid win to get things going in the right direction for us," Rohn said.
Salt Lake starter Trevor Reckling matched Mills with six scoreless innings of his own, walking two and striking out three, before giving way to Francisco Rodriguez (0-1), who gave up two runs on three hits and took the loss.
Mills picked up where he left off at Cashman Field in the middle of last season when a strained oblique muscle ended his season July 3. The left-hander, ranked as Toronto's No. 8 prospect entering this season, extended his scoreless streak at home to 21 innings over three starts, in which he scattered eight hits, struck out 27 and walked one.
"He was real sharp," Rohn said. "He had all four pitches working."
Mills struck out the side in the first inning and retired the first eight batters, six on strikeouts, before Bees second baseman Hainley Statia reached on an error in the third.
Mills allowed only three other baserunners, hitting Salt Lake third baseman Freddy Sandoval with a pitch and giving up singles to designated hitter Hank Conger and left fielder Michael Ryan, who reached on an infield hit.
Mills threw 90 pitches, 61 for strikes.
"(The key) for today, it was just a great offseason of working out," he said. "I feel as healthy as I've ever felt and my arm feels great. I really came in here healthy and strong."
Shortstop Jesus Merchan went 3-for-3 with a run to lead Las Vegas at the plate.
Contact reporter Todd Dewey at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0354.