Tyler Pill has been the 51s ace throughout the season.
So Saturday, when he gave up two runs in each of the first two innings, manager Pedro Lopez could tell that something wasn’t quite right with him.
Pill left after just the third inning, having given up four runs in a game the 51s (31-51) eventually lost 6-3 to Salt Lake on Saturday at Smith’s Ballpark.
Lopez said Pill felt some tightness in his bicep, and he was taken out as a precaution. Lopez said Pill should be good for his next start.
“I think he was saying he felt it earlier during his warm-ups in the bullpen and tried to pitch through it but just unfortunately couldn’t execute his pitches,” Lopez said.
The Salt Lake offense wasted no time establishing itself against him. By the time the second inning was over, the Bees had scored all the runs they would need.
The first two Salt Lake (46-36) batters of the game — Shane Robinson and Ramon Flores — doubled, setting the tone.
After Robinson scored on Flores’s double, the Bees added one more run in the inning with a Carlos Perez RBI single.
The next inning, a Flores triple drove in both Nolan Fontana and Robinson to give Salt Lake a four-run advantage.
“I think that was the reason why he probably couldn’t execute his pitches the way he normally does,” Lopez said. “As a matter of a fact I told (pitching coach) Frank (Viola) ‘There’s something wrong with him,’ because I don’t think in the all the years I’ve seen him pitch, I’ve never seen him like this. It’s just one of those things that he’s got to go through but fortunately I think we got it at the right time and now we’ve just got to move forward, get him ready for his next start.”
Beck Wheeler followed Pill into the game and he gave up a run in each of his two innings pitched.
In the fourth, Salt Lake scored its fifth run on a Rey Navarro RBI single and an inning later, the Bees added one more on a sacrifice fly.
Meanwhile, Bees starter John Lamb limited the 51s to two runs on four hits in six, though he did walk five batters.
The 51s grounded into three double plays in the game.
“Early on he did a really good job pitching inside,” Lopez said. “He just kept us off balance with the change-up but after a couple innings, I thought we a much better job laying off some borderline pitches inside.”
They scored two of their three runs in the fifth inning, one on a Phillip Evans double, plating Josh Rodriguez and the other on a Jio Mier RBI single, scoring Evans.
Their only other run came in the ninth inning when Travis Taijeron hit his 15th blast of the season.
“The game could have turned ugly quick especially after Pill left the game early … but the guys did a really good job,” manager Pedro Lopez said. “I thought that we had really good at-bats. Hit the ball hard, just unfortunately right at people.”
Who: 51s at Salt Lake Bees
When: 5:35 p.m.
Where: Smith’s Ballpark
Starters: Tyler Pill (4-1, 2.29 ERA) vs. John Lamb (0-0, 4.50 ERA)
Sunday: Las Vegas at Salt Lake, 6:05 p.m.
Monday: Las Vegas at Salt Lake, 5:35 p.m.
Tuesday: El Paso at Las Vegas, 7:05 p.m.
Wednesday: El Paso at Las Vegas, 7:05 p.m.
Thursday: El Paso at Las Vegas, 7:05 p.m.
Tyler Pill gave up three runs in six innings in a no-decision against Tacoma on June 26 in his first start since being sent back down by the Mets. He has not faced Salt Lake this season.
Contact Betsy Helfand at email@example.com. Follow @BetsyHelfand on Twitter.