Fresno Grizzlies— After leading the way for almost all of the first two games of their series against Salt Lake, the Grizzlies trailed from the outset on Thursday night. Fresno had several attempts at a comeback, but came up just shy in the end, falling 6-5 to the Bees at Chukchansi Park.
Salt Lake (32-43) came out firing against Kown in the first, opening the game with a pair of singles and a double, scoring all three baserunners to take an early 3-0 lead.
The Grizzlies (33-42), meanwhile, stranded a pair of runners in each of the first two innings, as former Grizzly Jerome Williams pitched into and out of trouble. Fresno finally broke through in the third, as Tyler Graham reached on an error to open the bottom of the frame and swiped second with one out, his league-leading 35th steal of the season. With two outs, Brett Pill doubled high off the left-center field wall, and Thomas Neal followed with an RBI double of his own to get the Grizzlies back within a run at 3-2.
The Bees stretched their lead in the fifth, as Reggie Willits led off with a single, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt, to third on a flyout, and scored on a Gil Velasquez RBI-double to make it 4-2. That chased Kown from the game, bringing on Justin Dowdy from the ‘pen. The lefty surrendered a single to Efren Navarro that scored Velasquez, making it 5-2 Salt Lake.
Fresno got one back in the bottom of the frame on Pill’s second RBI-double of the game. The Grizzlies closed the gap to just one run again in the seventh, as Pill hit a shallow bloop down the line in right which dropped in front of a diving Jeremy Moore, going for an RBI-triple to score Edgar Gonzalez. That marked Pill’s fifth extra-base hit in a seven at-bat span, as he homered in two of his final three trips to the plate on Wednesday night.
Marc Kroon walked in a run with two outs in the top of the eighth, allowing Salt Lake to pad its lead once again. That proved to be crucial, as Brad Eldred would go deep in the home half of the frame to cut the margin to 6-5, his third straight game with a home run. It was also Eldred’s 13th of the season, tying him once again with Pill for the team lead.
The Grizzlies got a one-out single from Conor Gillaspie in the ninth, but could not squeeze the tying run across against Salt Lake closer Kevin Jepsen, who finished a scoreless ninth for his fourth save.
Gonzalez singled in the first inning to extend his league-leading on-base streak to 29 games. The infielder is just four games shy of matching Oklahoma City’s Robinson Cancel’s mark of 33, the longest stretch by a PCL player this season.