The 51s had a chance to win all four games in Salt Lake.
Instead, they’ll head to Tacoma with just one win in their last four tries, having been beaten in walk-off fashion in two of their last three games.
Las Vegas fell 4-3 in 11 innings on Thursday at Smith’s Ballpark, a tough defeat to cap an even tougher series.
“I thought we played well enough to win four games and unfortunately we didn’t,” 51s manager Pedro Lopez said. “That happens when you’re playing against good teams — you really have to minimize every error that you make whether it’s mental or physical and they took advantage of some errors that we made, some mistakes that we made and we paid for them.”
The third loss of the series was especially tough on the 51s because it ended on a play they believed to be a missed call.
Rey Navarro’s RBI single off reliever Logan Taylor drove in Kaleb Cowart with the winning run, though the throw from Josh Rodriguez in left field beat Cowart to the plate and the safe call prompted an argument by Lopez.
“(Shortstop Amed) Rosario tries to make a play, he dives for a ball, doesn’t get to it. Rodriguez makes a great play, makes a good throw to home plate and Carrillo makes a good tag and the umpire missed the call,” Lopez said. “Of course there’s anger and of course I was upset about it.”
But the 51s (24-37) had opportunities they couldn’t take advantage of to win before the 11th inning.
“We had chances to win it or add to our lead and just unfortunately chased too many pitches out of the strike zone,” Lopez said.
Las Vegas batters were 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left nine runners on base.
One of their best opportunities came in the 10th inning, when they loaded the bases on two walks and a single before Rodriguez flew out to end the threat.
The 51s led most of the game, too, taking a 3-1 edge with three runs in the third on a Cowart error and RBI singles from Rosario and Dominic Smith.
The Bees (34-27) forced extra innings with a run in the eighth inning off Hansel Robles, who struggled with his command, for a 3-3 tie.
After a walk, stolen base and groundout advancing the runner to third, Ramon Flores tied the game with an RBI double.
In the ninth, Robles got two quick outs before hitting a batter and walking two. He escaped unscathed, but it was another tough outing for the reliever who was sent down by the Mets in late May.
“He just didn’t have his best stuff for whatever reason, whether it was lack of concentration or it maybe just was one of those days,” Lopez said. “(The) command wasn’t there.”
Starter Blake Beavan gave up just two runs on nine hits in 5 1/3 innings in his first game back from Double-A Binghamton.
“He got in trouble. He made some mistakes up in the zone, but he did a hell of a job to get himself out of jams,” Lopez said. “He made good pitches when he needed to.”
His performance, though, was enough to keep the 51s in the game, which their starting pitching has been much better at lately.
“I’m not happy with the outcomes of the games, of course, but I think the one thing that I’m happy about is we’re getting after it,” Lopez said. “We’re seeing better at-bats. We’re pitching better of late. We’ve done a really good job pitching so hopefully it continues.”
Contact Betsy Helfand at email@example.com. Follow @BetsyHelfand on Twitter.