The Las Vegas 51s jumped out to an early lead Monday.
But it went for naught as the Salt Lake Bees scored runs in six straight innings to win the series finale at Smith’s Ballpark 8-6 over the 51s.
“We took the lead, lost the lead and then we just kept battling and putting good at-bats together. The next thing you know, we’re right back in it. Unfortunately, the outcome was not what we wanted,” manager Pedro Lopez said.
Dominic Smith got the 51s off on the right foot with a two-run home run in the first inning to extend his hitting streak to 19 games.
After Las Vegas (32-52) scored one more run in the third inning on a Kevin Plawecki RBI single, Salt Lake (47-37) chipped away with runs in six straight innings.
In the third, a Shane Robinson RBI single put the Bees on the board and an inning later, former 51 Cesar Puello hit a two-run home run off of Las Vegas starter Wilfredo Boscan to tie the game.
Salt Lake went ahead in the fifth on a C.J. Cron sacrifice double play and kept adding runs through the eighth inning.
Boscan gave up six runs in his 6 1/3 innings pitched but his performance was notable in that it helped the 51s rest some tired arms.
“He gave us a chance (and) ate up some innings, especially with the bullpen in … the shape that it’s in,” Lopez said.
Las Vegas only used two pitchers as newly-called up Luis Mateo tossed 1 2/3 innings after Boscan’s exit.
Mateo gave up two runs in his outing — a two-run home run to Dustin Ackley in the bottom of the eighth.
The Bees wound up needing those two extra insurance runs as Smith, in the top of the ninth, blasted his second home run of the game.
“I think the one thing he’s doing is he staying on the pitches he can handle,” Lopez said. “He’s doing a good job. Tonight, even last night, actually the last couple weeks, he’s done a really good job. He’s taking whatever the pitchers give him and he’s sticking to his game plan and I’m just glad that it paid off.”
With the loss, the 51s split the series with the Bees and finished their road trip against two of the tougher teams in the Pacific Coast League 3-5.
But Lopez saw things he liked on the eight-game road trip.
“We swung the bats well. At times, we made mistakes pitching, but overall I thought it was a good effort,” Lopez said. “The guys battled all the way to the last at-bat of the game, all the way back to the last out, last pitch. If we keep doing that, I think we’re going to turn the corner and play a lot better in the second half.”
Who: El Paso Chihuahuas at Las Vegas 51s
When: 7:05 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Cashman Field
Starters: Adam Cimber (1-0, 4.56) vs. Ricky Knapp (3-9, 6.16 ERA)
Wednesday: El Paso at Las Vegas, 7:05 p.m.
Thursday: El Paso at Las Vegas, 7:05 p.m.
Friday: Las Vegas at Albuquerque, 6:05 p.m.
Saturday: Las Vegas at Albuquerque, 6:05 p.m.
Sunday: Las Vegas at Albuquerque, 6:05 p.m.
The 51s will host their annual postgame Fourth of July Fireworks Extravaganza on Tuesday.
Contact Betsy Helfand at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @BetsyHelfand on Twitter.