A day after losing their first extra-inning contest of the season on a bases-loaded walk, the Fresno Grizzlies (5-6) fell victim to more unforced errors late on Sunday, dropping a 5-4 decision to the Salt Lake Bees (5-6) after allowing three runs in the ninth, with the game ending on a walk-off balk. Fresno has reached at least 10 hits in a ballgame five of the last six games, but are just 2-3 in those games. They out-hit Salt Lake for a second game in a loss, and dropped to 1-2 in one-run games in 2017.
The Grizzlies struck first in the second when Teoscar Hernandez led off with a single and a stolen base. Jon Kemmer dropped a one-out single into left field, making it 1-0. It was the fifth consecutive game Fresno has scored in the second inning, dating back to April 12 at Las Vegas. They've scored 15 runs in the last five second frames, and the second is the club's best offensive inning this season (16 runs).
Fresno added to their lead in the fifth, when Tony Kemp (2-for-5) led off with a single. Kemp (.356), whose eight-game hit streak was snapped Saturday at Salt Lake, roared back with his seventh multi-hit game already this season, hitting safely in nine of 10. Kemp later scored from second on a Tyler White (2-for-4) RBI single, following a Derek Fisher walk. Fisher scored from third on a double-steal with White and it was 3-0 Grizzlies in the middle innings.
White (.395) extended his hit streak to 10 games, the club-high streak to begin the season. He's collected multiple hits in six games. Preston Tucker's fourth inning double extended his hit streak to seven games, and he's batting .407 during the streak after his first three-hit game of the season Sunday. Coming into Sunday's action, the Grizzlies hadn't stolen more than one base in a game this season (four times). They stole five: Hernandez 2 (3), Kemp (3), Fisher (1) and White (1).
Grizz starter Francis Martes, the Houston Astros' top pitching prospect, did not allow a run in 4.1 innings. He's now gone 9.1 scoreless over two starts in his Triple-A debut, but walked six on Sunday. Martes allowed just two hits, with seven strikeouts. L.A. Angels prospect Alex Meyer went five innings for the Bees, allowing three earned runs on eight hits. Meyer struck out five with a walk. Neither starter factored into the decision.
The Bees struck back in the sixth, breaking up the shutout. Sherman Johnson tripled for an RBI, and later scored on Shane Robinson's RBI single. The Grizzlies were retired in order for the first time in the seventh, they had had at least one each in each inning until that point.
Tucker added his third hit in the eighth, a RBI single that brought home Hernandez after a walk and a steal, his second swipe of the day. Leading 4-2 in the ninth, left-hander Reymin Guduan (0-2) returned to the mound after a perfect eighth, only to see Salt Lake rally for three runs for the second walk-off win in two games against Fresno. Robinson (2-for-5) led the half inning with a single, followed by a one-out walk to Dustin Ackley. Ryan LeMarre (2-for-5) singled to score Robinson, and a low/wild pickoff through to first by Guduan scored Eric Young Jr., who pinch-ran for Ackley. With LeMarre at third, a walk-off balk by Guduan brought in the third and winning run for the 5-4 Bees victory. LeMarre scored the winning run under bizarre circumstances a day after he drew a bases-loaded walk to drive in the winning run in Salt Lake's 6-5 win in 10 innings on Saturday. Jose Valdez (1-1) picked up the win, retiring Fresno in order in the ninth.
The series will wrap at Smith's Ballpark in Salt Lake City on Monday evening, a 5:35 PT first pitch.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.