Bees leave 51s on precipice of dubious record

Only four games into their season, the 51s are on the brink of history. But it’s not the kind teams want to make.

Las Vegas equaled its worst start ever on Sunday, falling to 0-4 after losing 3-2 to the Salt Lake Bees, who finished a season-opening four-game sweep at Cashman Field.

The 51s must win tonight — in the opener of their four-game series against Colorado Springs, Triple-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies — to avoid the franchise’s first 0-5 start in 26 years.

“We need to get better in a hurry,” Las Vegas manager Lorenzo Bundy said. “Is it panic time? Well, we’ve got 140 games to go. But, as far as somebody’s career or how long they stay here? Yeah, it’s time to get going.”

Las Vegas has struggled to pitch and hit, posting a 6.50 ERA and a .241 batting average.

“Offensively, we’ve been pretty disappointing,” Bundy said. “Whether you have a successful year, a lot is going to depend on your pitching, but in the PCL, you have to score.

“We have veteran hitters who have put up numbers in the past, and they’re going to have to put up numbers to stay here.”

Terry Tiffee (.471) and John Lindsey (.471), who extended his hitting streak to 26 games Sunday with a fourth-inning double, are the only players batting better than .273 for Las Vegas, which has scored only 13 runs in four games.

“That’s not gonna fly,” Bundy said. “You can’t get away with two or three runs in this league, especially in this ballpark.”

Kevin Howard, third on the team in batting (.273), went 2-for-4 and drilled a two-run double in the fourth to pull the 51s within 3-2.

Las Vegas, which had six hits, stranded runners at second base in the eighth and ninth innings.

Miguel Pinango pitched six strong innings on Thursday, but no other 51s starter has gone past four innings.

Left-hander Eric Stults (0-1) allowed all three runs in 3 1/3 innings Sunday, allowing four hits, including a solo homer, while walking five and fanning five. Stults, who threw 87 pitches, also tied a team record with three wild pitches in the first inning, when Salt Lake scored without hitting the ball out of the infield.

Bobby Wilson drew a one-out walk for the Bees and came around to score on the wild pitches.

“It’s a fluke thing. It wasn’t like I was throwing them off the backstop,” Stults said. “I felt good out there, but the biggest thing was the high pitch count and way too many walks.

“I haven’t pitched in a while, so hopefully it’s one of those outings to get over with early.”

Salt Lake made it 2-0 in the third when Brad Coon reached on an infield hit, went to second on a walk and scored on an RBI single by Kendry Morales. Matt Brown made it 3-0 in the fourth with a leadoff homer to left.

Jason Repko, who went 1-for-5 and is batting .211, said the slow start might spark the squad. “We can use this to light our fire now,” he said. “Once everybody gets their swing going, we’ll pull together very nicely.”

NOTE — The Los Angeles Angels released former Green Valley High School standout Chad Hermansen on March 22.

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@ or 702-383-0353.

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