The 51s entered Friday sitting near the bottom of the Pacific Coast League in team ERA.
While some of his teammates had been roughed up at times, Tim Peterson had emerged as the team’s most consistent pitcher, posting a 1.26 ERA through his first 12 appearances.
On Friday, Peterson hit his first speed bump of the season, allowing four runs in the fifth inning as the 51s lost 9-5 to Salt Lake at Smith’s Ballpark.
Peterson hit the first batter he saw with a pitch. The next two batters, Kaleb Cowart and Jabari Blash, singled and doubled, producing two runs before Rymer Liriano took Peterson deep with a two-run shot.
“He just left some pitches up. The first batter hit by pitch with two strikes, the ball got away from him,” manager Tony DeFrancesco said. “Then he kind of left some pitches over the plate. The home run kind of not used to getting hit hard. The guy whacked one to left center. Command was an issue but then he came back (and) had a decent sixth inning.”
Prior to that, the 51s (11-18) and Bees had been tied at 4.
Salt Lake (18-11) struck first, scoring on a Jose Briceno RBI single in the second inning off starter Vance Worley in the bottom of the second inning.
But the 51s responded in the top of the third with back-to-back-to-back doubles from Bryce Brentz, Dominic Smith and Ty Kelly producing four runs.
“It was nice to see us after (being) down 1-0, we came back, scored four runs in the third inning,” DeFrancesco said. “It was nice to see guys put some swings together. Brentz had a double for two RBIs, Smitty had a double, Kelly had a double. That was kind of nice.
They held that lead until the fourth inning when Worley gave up a three-run blast to Dustin Ackley to tie up the game.
“You could tell he was laboring there in that inning the same way back in Albuquerque, he just didn’t have enough stamina right now to try to get to 75 pitches so hopefully next outing we can get him up (to) 75, 80 pitches,” DeFrancesco said.
Making his second start for the 51s, Worley tossed four innings, giving up the four runs on six hits while walking a pair. He threw 64 pitches as he is working his way to getting his arm stretched out, 33 for strikes.
“He kind of (is) a sinker, cutter, slider guy. He’s trying to get guys to swing and miss but he’s still working on his arm strength and trying to get through 65-75 pitches so it’s just kind of been a battle to get his pitch count up.”
Las Vegas added its last run in the eighth inning on a Gavin Cecchini single, which drove in Kelly, but was otherwise shutout offensively after the fourth.
“We didn’t do much after that. We chased,” DeFrancesco said. “We had 13 strikeouts.”