Robert Brender, @robertbrender on TwitterSalt Lake Bees (LAA) 4, @ Las Vegas 51s 3
The Salt lake Bees defeated the Las Vegas 51s 4-3 Saturday afternoon at Cashman Field, winning the best-of-five playoff series three games to one. The 51s season comes to and end in the 1st round of the postseason after an 81-63 record during the regular year and a PCL Pacific Southern Division Championship.
Recently acquired right-hander Aaron Harang got his first start for the 51s and was okay: 6IP, 6H, 3R, 3ER, 2BB, 6K, 1HR. He appeared in a relief role five days ago (one day after signing as a Minor League free agent), allowing a pair of runs on seven hits in four innings of work. Sounds like Harang’s next start could be for the Mets as part of their doubleheader against the Marlins September 14.
For the second time in the series the 51s got a 1st inning leadoff homerun from Kirk Nieuwenhuis to grab the early lead. Interestingly, the 51s scored first in three of the four games in the series and lost all three. Their only win was Game 3, in which they trailed 1-0 until the 5th.
Salt Lake scored twice off Harang in the 4th to take a 2-1 lead. After Vegas tied the game in the bottom of that inning, the Bees came back with single runs in the 5th and 7th to grab a 4-2 advantage.
In the bottom of the 8th, Vegas got back-to-back doubles from Ruben Tejada and Mike Baxter to open the frame and draw to within one run. Baxter moved to third base on a subsequent groundout but was stranded 90 feet from the plate when Jamie Hoffmann grounded out and Rylan Sandoval struck out to end the rally.
Again in the 9th inning, the 51s got the potential tying run to third but Nieuwenhuis struck out swinging to end the game and the 51s season.
Notes: 2013 was just the 4th time in 51s franchise history they’ve won 80 + games….Wally Backman did a tremendous job with this group, especially considering how shaky the bullpen most of the season….It was a ton of fun for me to write the game recap most of the season. I hope everyone enjoyed them. See you in 2014.