BILLINGS, Montana - The Billings Mustangs (14-13) dropped a Sunday afternoon contest 5-1 to the Orem Owlz (19-7) in front of 1,904 fans at Dehler Park to slide to just one game over the .500 mark.
Justin Kelly (3-0) pitched five shutout innings for the Owlz, facing the minimum in his time on the mound and needing to throw just 52 pitches. He would strike out three on the way to his third win of the year. Owlz starters have given up just two runs in 10 innings over the last two games.
Orem took a first-inning lead with a leadoff double from Spencer Griffin. He would score later in the inning on a sacrifice from Franklin Torres. Griffin, making his professional debut, went 2-for-4 with a double and a run before being removed from the game in the seventh in favor of Brandon Sandoval.
Jeyson Sanchez hit his first homerun of the season, a two-run blast to left, to push the Owlz lead to four in the sixth following the exit of starter Justin Kelly.
Jhon De Jesus (1-2) was solid in the start for Billings, but would not get the offensive support he needed behind him. De Jesus pitched four innings, giving up just one run on three hits.
Billings would not score until the bottom of the eighth when Leandro Santana hit his team-best seventh homerun of the season. It was his second hit of the day and his 10th multi-hit performance this season.
Miles Gordon also added in two hits of his own including a double. He finished 2-for-4.
The Mustangs have now lost five of their last six games and are in danger of dropping their third consecutive series. Game three of the four-game set against the Owlz is Monday at Dehler Park. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.
The Mustangs and Dehler Park are once again competing in Ballpark Digest's "Best of the Ballparks" competition. Dehler Park was named the best Rookie League ballpark in the country in 2016 by fan voting and they look to defend that title in 2017. Fans can vote in the round of 16 as Dehler Park is squaring off against Kindrick Legion Field, the home of the Helena Brewers, to advance. Voting can be done once daily online at: http://ballparkdigest.com/2017/07/14/best-of-the-ballparks-2017-rookie-sweet-sixteen/
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.