The 51s were one out away.
They were one out away in the fourth.
They were one out away in the fifth.
And they were one out away in the seventh.
But Monday, they couldn’t get that one out when they needed it.
Salt Lake (32-26) scored all seven of their runs with two outs in a 7-6 win over Las Vegas on Monday at Smith’s Ballpark.
The 51s (23-35) had their chances though.
They jumped out to an early lead as Travis Taijeron and Desmond Jennings hit home runs in the second inning. The 51s loaded the bases after that, but only could muster a single run.
Amed Rosarios’ single plated Gavin Cecchini. Phillip Evans tried to score from second, but was called out on a close play at home. Dominic Smith struck out to end the threat.
The score remained 3-0 until the fourth inning when Salt Lake broke through with two outs.
Tony Sanchez’s single put the Bees on the board and a three-run home run from Matt Williams gave Salt Lake a 4-3 lead.
It was short-lived as Las Vegas took a 5-4 lead in the top half of the fifth on a two-run blast by Josh Rodriguez, his of the year.
That lead, too, was short-lived. Salt Lake added two more runs in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI double from Cesar Puello and RBI single from Dustin Ackley after starter Sean Gilmartin had gotten two quick outs to begin the inning.
“In the fourth, Gilly got in trouble, worked behind, made some mistakes up in the zone,” manager Pedro Lopez said. “The fifth basically was the same.”
In the seventh, the 51s tied the game again when Rosario scored on a double-play grounder.
After throwing a 1-2-3 sixth inning and retiring the first two batters of the seventh, Erik Goeddel gave up a double to Rey Navarro. Cesar Puello drove in Navarro with what would be the game-winning run on a a single to right.
Goeddel was saddled with the loss.
“Goody tried to go up in the zone with a fastball and left it kind of belt high for a double and tried to make a pitch … a splitfinger to Puello and kind of left it up. Puello hit it, he got jammed; (it) just got through the hole,” Lopez said.
Puello, who played for the 51s in 2014, also hurt Las Vegas the last time he played against his former team. That was in May when he was with Round Rock. In one game, he drove in four runs.
Now with Salt Lake, he’s still having success against the 51s.
“We made a mistake up in the zone he hit for a double and then the splitfinger that was just a seeing-eye ground ball through the infield,” Lopez said. “We’ve just got to make sure that we keep on trying to execute our pitches and hopefully we can get him out.”
Lopez said he thought both Gilmartin and Goeddel threw the ball well in the loss.
“They were trying to make pitches. They’re human beings. They’re going to make mistakes. (We) were probably was trying to do too much once we had the lead but (it) happens,” Lopez said. “The good thing is the guys battled well and hopefully tomorrow will be another good game.”
Who: Las Vegas 51s vs. Salt Lake Bees
When: 6:05 p.m. PDT Tuesday
Where: Smith’s Ballpark, Salt Lake City
Starters: RHP Rafael Montero (0-1, 2.25 ERA) vs. RHP Doug Fister (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Wednesday: Las Vegas at Salt Lake, 6:05 p.m. PDT
Thursday: Las Vegas at Salt Lake, 11:05 a.m. PDT
Friday: Las Vegas at Tacoma, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday: Las Vegas at Tacoma, 7:05 p.m.
Sunday: Las Vegas at Tacoma, 1:35 p.m.
Rafael Montero gave up three runs (two earned) in his first game back from the New York Mets. He threw 5 2/3 innings in the 51s’ 9-2 loss to Reno on Thursday.
Contact Betsy Helfand at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @BetsyHelfand on Twitter.