Robert Brender, @robertbrender on TwitterLas Vegas 51s 4, @ Salt Lake Bees (LAA) 5
The Salt Lake Bees took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series against the Las Vegas 51s, beating them 5-4 Thursday night in Utah. The series will shift to Sin City for Game 3 Friday, with Games 4 and 5 also scheduled to be in Nevada if necessary.
For the second straight night it was Vegas reliever Robert Carson who gave up the winning run in the bottom of the 9th inning. This time, a bases loaded sac fly from Scott Cousins drove home the game winner.
Rafael Montero got the start for Vegas and had his worst outing in almost six weeks, lasting just 4 1/3 innings while allowing three earned runs on five hits with three walks and two punch-outs. It’s his shortest performance since he was intentionally limited to two innings July 11 so he would be able to pitch in the MLB Futures Game a few days later. The three base on balls match his highest total this season and break a streak of six consecutive starts where he walked two or fewer.
For the second straight game, Vegas got on the board in the opening inning, this time thanks to a leadoff homer from Kirk Nieuwenhuis. It was his first of the postseason while he smacked 14 in 282 AAA at-bats during the regular year.
After falling behind 2-1, the 51s scored twice in the 4th to recapture the lead. Rylan Sandoval driving in both runs with a one-out single. Salt Lake tied the game 3-3 in the 5th and took a one run lead in the bottom of the 8th. However, Vegas found a way to tie it back up in 9th on an RBI double from Francisco Pena. It was just the second extra base hit in the game for the 51s and came in Pena’s first at-bat in the series.