Bees Bullets: Salt Lake Wins Series Against Division Leading Aces

Jul 31, 2022, 10:07 PM


Salt Lake Bees starting pitcher Touki Toussaint delivers a pitch against the Tacoma Rainiers at Smith's Ballpark on Sunday, July 24.

SALT LAKE CITY – The Bees went to the Biggest Little City in the World and came out with four wins in six games, outscoring the host Reno Aces by 20 runs.

Salt Lake kicked off the post All-Star break portion of their schedule by winning two of three in a rare three-game series against the Tacoma Rainiers at Smith’s Ballpark. The Bees then turned their attention west for a six-game series against the Reno Aces at Greater Nevada Field July 26-31.

The Bees received some offensive reinforcements during the homestand as first half offensive MVP David MacKinnon was optioned to the team from the Los Angeles Angels.

After making his major league debut with the Angels on June 18, MacKinnon struggled to gain traction with the team. He batted .189 in 16 games without an extra-base hit and six RBI for the Angels.

MacKinnon didn’t wait long before announcing his return…

The Bees sent the crown home happy on Pioneer Day after Kean Wong lifted a ball over the centerfielders head in the 12th inning of the Bees longest game of the season. Wong was so happy about the victory that he decided to lead his teammates on a little wild goose chase before celebrating the 5-4 walk-off win.

Game One: Bees 7 Aces 4

With Salt Lake trailing 4-0 early, Jack Mayfield put the Bees on the board with a three-run blast in the fourth inning.

A David MacKinnon eighth inning triple followed by a Matt Thaiss single put the Bees in front 5-4.

In the ninth with the Bees leading 5-4, left fielder Jake Gatewood turned on this 1-2 pitch for his 10th home run of the season.

  • Salt Lake’s bullpen threw seven scoreless innings in relief of Davis Daniel.
  • In his first appearance for Salt Lake after a promotion from Double-A Rocket City, Christopher Molina allowed one hit in 3.1 innings with three strikeouts and a walk.
  • Grant Dayton, Oliver Ortega, Zack Weiss and Kyle Barraclough combined to finish the win. Barraclough picked up his second save of the season. Ortega struck out the side in the seventh.

Game Two: Bees 16 Aces 6

Kean Wong and Jose Rojas set the table at the top of the lineup, walking a combined five times while adding a pair of base-hits. But it was Jake Gatewood with a fourth-inning Grand Slam and three-run shot in the fifth that broke matters open for the Bees.

Gatewood finished the night 2-5 at the plate with three runs scored and seven RBI.

With the outcome decided, Bees relievers Ty Buttrey and Keith Rogalla combined to allow four late inning runs to account for the 16-6 final score.

  • Salt Lake scored all 16 runs between the third and fifth innings, posting 10 runs in the fourth alone.
  • Five Bee batters had a fourth inning RBI.
  • All nine Bees starters finished with a hit. Six players had at least two hits.
  • Rojas and David MacKinnon added two RBI each while Matt Thaiss chipped in three RBI.

Game Three: Bees 11 Aces 4

A Monte Harrison cycle and two Jose Rojas home runs gave Salt Lake their second straight double-figure run scoring day in the 11-4 win.

Rojas opened the game with a one-out solo home run in the first inning.

Trailing 4-3 in the eighth inning, the Bees home run leader struck again with another solo shot to tie the game at 4. It was his 17th long ball of the season. Harrison later doubled in the inning, scoring Jack Mayfield to give the Bees a 5-4 lead.

With a one run lead entering the final frame, Mayfield added a two-RBI single before he and Matt Thaiss scored on Harrison’s second RBI double in as many innings. Chad Wallach closed the scoring with a two-run homer to right.

  • Harrison finished the night 5-5 at the dish with five RBI and two runs scored. It was the first cycle for the Bees since Michael Hermosillo did it against Fresno on May 1, 2018.
  • The five hits and five RBI were each career high’s for Harrison.
  • The performance came two weeks after Harrison cleared waivers and returned to the Bees following a 19-day stint with the Angels. Harrison went 2-for-11 with a homer and three RBI in nine games with Los Angeles before he was designated for assignment on July 13.

  • Rojas went 3-5 and finished with two runs scored and two RBI and is now batting .272 this season.
  • Mike Mayers allowed four runs, three earned in six innings in what can probably be considered his best start with Salt Lake. In 33 innings across eight starts, Mayers is 0-3 with a 6.27 earned run average and .236 batting average against.

Game Four: Bees 5 Aces 6

Salt Lake took a 5-0 lead into the fourth inning before surrendering six unanswered runs in a 6-5 loss.

Jose Rojas struck again when he added a three-run home run in the third inning.

Starter César Valdez took a 5-1 lead into the sixth inning but couldn’t hang on. Valdez would give up five hits in the frame including two doubles. All that action on the base paths resulted in three Reno runs, cutting Salt Lake’s lead to 5-4.

Two Aces sacrifice fly’s gave them their first win of the series 6-5.

  • Bees first baseman David MacKinnon failed to get a hit for the first time since returning to Salt Lake on July 24. With a walk, he extended his on-base streak t0 32 games with Salt Lake dating back to May 15.
  • Rojas has 10 homers, 24 RBI and a 1.358 OPS during his 17-game hitting streak.

Game Five: Bees 1 Aces 2

Five Salt Lake pitchers combined to allow two runs while scattering 10 hits in their second straight one run loss.

Jose Rojas and David MacKinnon combined for the Bees only run in the fourth inning. After Rojas extended his season-high 18 game hitting streak with an infield single, MacKinnon laced a double off the centerfield wall. The double increases MacKinnon’s on-base streak to 33 games.

Limited to five hits in the game, Salt Lake mustered just two hits from the fifth inning on.

Reno scored an unearned run in the fifth to get the 2-1 win.

Salt Lake is 1-14 in games decided by one run in 2022.

  • Kean Wong went 2-4, singling twice and stole second in the eighth inning. The stolen bae was his 23rd of the season. Wong is tied for the seventh most stolen bases in the Pacific Coast League.
  • Outfielder Magneuris Sierra  is ninth in the league with 22 stolen bags. Monte Harrison sits just outside the top ten with 20 steals.
  • After being optioned to Salt Lake earlier in the week, reliever Austin Warren allowed a hit in one inning of work.

Game Six: Bees 6 Aces 4

Salt Lake jumped all over the Aces in the series finale, scoring four first inning runs on their way to a 6-4 win.

After a Michael Stefanic RBI single earlier in the inning, catcher Chad Wallach (7) supplied a three run homer to give the Bees the early lead.

The Bees added two more runs in the fourth inning when Gatewood blasted his 13th home run of the year and Stefanic added a bases-loaded walk.

  • Jose Rojas extended his hitting streak to 19 games with a third inning double.
  • David MacKinnon walked twice, extending his on-base streak to 34 games.
  • Jose Marte pitched a clean two innings to pick up his third save of the season.
Junk is 1-3 with a 3.88 earned run average for Salt Lake in 2022. Opposing batters are hitting .239 against him this season while striking out 40 times and walking 11 times.

Climbing the ladder

After three stints on the Angels big league roster, starting pitcher Chase Silseth has been optioned to Salt Lake for his next step of development.

Silseth was the Angels first round pick (11th overall) in 2021.

In eight games with the Double-A Rocket City Trash Pandas, Silseth is 2-0 with a 2.01 earned run average with 54 strikeouts in 40.1 innings.

With inconsistent playing time, he has not fared as well in 28.2 innings with the Angels. Across seven games, he has a 1-3 record and a 6.59 earned run average.

He joins a Bees pitching staff that has proven to be one of the PCL’s best in 2022. Leading the league with a 4.74 earned run average, Salt Lake has the most complete games (4), has allowed the fewest home runs (100) and walked the fewest batters (336).

On Deck

The Bees return to Salt Lake for their longest homestand of the season beginning on August 2 with a six-game series against the Oklahoma City Dodgers, Triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Game one is scheduled for a 6:35 p.m. (MST) first pitch.

Following that series, the Bees welcome in the Sacramento River Cats for a six-game series August 9-14.

Purchase tickets to see the Bees play at Listen to voice of the Bees Steve Klauke on

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Bees Bullets: Salt Lake Wins Series Against Division Leading Aces