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Even in the first inning, to the second batter of the third game of a four-game series a solo home run is not an isolated event.
Salt Lake Bees starter Eddie McKiernan said Kole Calhoun's home run to the left-field berm Monday at Spring Mobile Ballpark helped him settle in and pitch seven innings and allow just one run. For McKiernan, who entered with a 3-2 record and a 7.77 ERA, it was his best Triple-A outing of the season.
Bees manager Keith Johnson said the homer set the offensive tone for the Bees, who had one of their best recent offensive outings to beat the first-place Reno Aces 9-3.
In all, the win gave the Bees (38-40) back-to-back victories for the first time since June 11, when they began a 10-losses-in-11-game stretch.
"It's a relief," said Efren Navarro. "It puts us in the right direction; it seems there's a positive energy in the clubhouse."
Navarro's three-run home run in the seventh inning was the punctuation point for the Bees and essentially their last shot at Reno starter Joe Martinez, who had won seven straight starts.
"The guy that pitched against us tonight," Johnson said, "he's been doing great. He had won seven in a row, had almost 20 scoreless innings. It wasn't just any old Joe Schmoe."
However, the Bees treated him like one. After Calhoun's first-inning home run, they pushed across three runs in the third inning after Matt Long drew a leadoff walk and Doug Deeds and Calhoun followed with singles.
In the fifth, the Bees scored two more runs in similar fashion.
"We executed two times in a row," Johnson said, "something we've been lacking in the last few games when we're going through this tough stretch. So it was good to see that. Then obviously for us to go out and pitch the way we did and play solid defense and put up some runs late was a good, welcome sign."
Storylines Bees 9, Aces 3
R Salt Lake wins back-to-back games for the first time since June 11.
• Kole Calhoun hits a solo homer in the first inning for the Bees.• Salt Lake starter Eddie McKiernan holds Reno to one run over seven innings.