The 51s were two outs away from snapping their two-game losing streak on Tuesday, but a home run, a triple and a single later and Las Vegas had dropped a 2-1 decision to the Salt Lake Bees at Smith’s Ballpark in Salt Lake City.
That’s all it took to spoil a superb outing from 51s starter Rafael Montero, who held the Bees (33-26) in check over seven innings, striking out eight and surrendering only three hits.
Las Vegas (23-36) scored in the first inning when catcher Kevin Plawecki singled to left, scoring Amed Rosario. That was all the offense until the ninth inning, yet manager Pedro Lopez enjoyed what he was seeing.
“It was a good game … well pitched from both sides,” he said.
Lopez called on reliever Chasen Bradford in the ninth-inning to close out the game with the 51s clinging to the one-run lead. Bradford induced Kaleb Cowart to ground out to start the inning for the Bees. But Salt Lake first baseman Jefry Marte, who was 0-for-3, tied the game with a homer to left.
“Unfortunately, Bradford made some mistakes up the middle that hurt us,” Lopez said.
Bradford struck out Bees second baseman Rey Navarro to regain a measure of control in the game. However, catcher Carlos Perez followed with a two-out triple, and center fielder Cesar Puello won the game for Salt Lake with a walk-off RBI single to score Perez.
“He did what he always does,” Lopez said, referring to Bradford. “He was aggressive, but unfortunately tonight he made some mistakes helping us out.”
The late collapse spoiled Montero’s stellar game. But Lopez is choosing to dwell on the positives he saw from his team.
“Raffy did a really good job tonight,” he said. “(He was) pitching to both sides of the plate well. He threw the ball extremely well.”
Salt Lake starter Doug Fister also put on an excellent performance. He struck out seven and gave up only the first-inning run on four hits in five innings.
Bradford took the loss. The blown save was his fourth of the season.
“They know it was a tough loss,” he said. “We had a chance to win this one. Unfortunately it didn’t happen. We still got two more games to go. Hopefully we can win these two, and take two or three in Tacoma.”
Who: Las Vegas 51s at Salt Lake Bees
When: 6:05 p.m. PDT Wednesday
Where: Smith’s Ballpark, Salt Lake City
Starters: Wilfredo Boscan (1-3, 4.54 ERA) vs. Troy Scribner (6-1, 4.89 ERA)
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.
Tuesday: Sacramento at Las Vegas, 7:05 p.m.
51s second baseman Gavin Cecchini is on a 10-game hitting streak after notching a double in the seventh inning Tuesday against the Salt Lake Bees.
Contact Jonathan Saxon at email@example.com. Follow @J_Saxon91 on Twitter.