SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake Bees were unable to overcome a slow start and lost their fifth-straight game to the Las Vegas 51s, 8-3, on Sunday afternoon.
The 51s (27-23) controlled the game with a flurry of stolen bases, and had an answer for everything the Bees (25-26) could throw at them.
"There are a number of areas we need to tighten up," said Salt Lake manager Keith Johnson. "Every opportunity we had to catch up or take control was squashed, and all our deficiencies showed up. We've just got to keep getting after it."
Las Vegas started the game with three runs in the first three innings, helped by four stolen bases. Salt Lake didn't score until the fourth inning, when catcher Robinzon Diaz's hit brought two runners in with a double.
The 51s responded with another run in the fifth, and the Bees were able to score once more when a Paul McAnulty single brought Matt Long home, making the score 4-3. However, Salt Lake didn't score again for the rest of the game.
Las Vegas stretched its lead to five over the rest of game, scoring in the seventh inning, the eighth and twice in the ninth.
The five-game losing streak comes right after a five-game win streak for the Bees, making the month of May a "roller coaster" for Johnson.
"It's Triple A baseball, our record goes according to the Major League team," he said, speaking of recent call-ups to the Angels like Mike Trout. "We've just got to make sure the downward turns are short. We've been in a tough stretch like this before, so we know we can get out of it."
Diaz led the Bees with 2 of 4 hits and two RBIs. Center fielder Drew Heid also went 2 of 4, while second baseman Matt Long went 2 of 5. Starting pitcher Juan Rincon was given his first loss of the season after pitching 2 2?3 innings and giving up three hits and three runs, including a home run.