The Pacific Coast League is known as a circuit that favors offense, with altitude aiding batters in several ballparks. But Salt Lake City's 4,226-foot elevation can't be blamed for Peter Bourjos' performance in the Bees' 13-11, 10-inning loss to the Tacoma Rainiers on Friday night.
The speedy center fielder set a club record and tied the PCL mark with three triples. The feat had been performed eight previous times in the 108-year history of the league -- once by former big league manager Bobby Valentine -- and most recently by Sacramento's Mark Bellhorn against New Orleans on June 20, 2000.
Bourjos, a 2005 10th-round Draft pick, has a solid history of three-base hitting. He led the Double-A Texas League last season with 14 triples for the Arkansas Travelers. As a member of the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in 2008, he finished second in the California League with 10 triples while pacing the circuit with 50 stolen bases.
Bourjos entered Friday's contest riding a six-game hitting streak and batting .345 for the season. After going 4-for-6 against Tacoma -- he led off the first, third and sixth innings with triples, adding a single in the fourth -- he's batting .400. His five triples lead the Minor Leagues.
"I've never had anything like that happen in a game before," Bourjos said. "I was just trying to keep it rolling.
"I worked hard with [Angels hitting coach] Mickey Hatcher in Spring Training on staying up the middle and using the opposite field and have just been trying to carry it over to the season.
Two of Bourjos' triples went down the right-field line.
He wasn't the only player to break out the bats before 15,057 fans in Salt Lake's home opener. Gary Patchett singled three times and drove in three runs, while Cory Aldridge slugged a three-run homer in the sixth.
For Tacoma, Mike Carp, rehabbing Major Leaguer Jack Hannahan and Chris Woodward homered and Josh Wilson doubled three times and drove in three runs. The clubs combined for 24 runs on 33 hits.
Both starting pitchers struggled. Tacoma's Chris Seddon gave up seven runs -- five earned -- on 12 hits over five innings, while Salt Lake counterpart Tommy Mendoza was reached for eight runs -- five earned -- on nine hits in 4 2/3 frames.
Reliever Levale Speigner (1-1) earned the win with two shutout innings. Rafael Rodriguez (0-1) took the loss after allowing two runs on three hits over 1 2/3 frames.