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So much for finishing strong.

Salt Lake entered the final stretch of its up-and-down season staring at eight consecutive contests at Spring Mobile Ballpark. After dropping the initial four — the spiraling Bees fell 3-1 to the Tucson Padres on Thursday before a crowd of 6,775 — Salt Lake must at least split its final four just to finish the year with a winning record.

Mental errors, defensive miscues and blown opportunities encapsulated the Bees' latest effort. While Salt Lake (71-69) didn't officially commit an error, shortstop Andrew Romine failed to pull in a routine pop-up during the fifth inning. The misplay was soon traded for a Daniel Robertson RBI single that made it 1-0 Tucson, and the Bees never recovered.

"We made some mistakes defensively that cost us runs and you can't do that, regardless of a team's record," said Salt Lake manager Keith Johnson, referring to the Padres' poor 56-84 mark.

Tucson swept its four-game series with the Bees, and the clincher erased a strong outing by Salt Lake starter Greg Smith. The 28-year-old left-hander was sharp, mixing off-speed pitches with a fastball that seldom dropped jaws but was often unhittable. He threw 108 pitches (74 strikes), allowing six hits and two earned runs in 62⁄3 innings while striking out four.

Smith lowered his ERA to 3.97, which gave him the seventh-best average in the Pacific Coast League when he walked off the mound.

"Smith did a great job for us [Thursday]. Probably his last start of the year; he's been great for us all year," Johnson said.

But with Salt Lake leaving 12 runners on base — including two in the bottom of the ninth — striking out seven times and collecting only seven hits, Smith's outing amounted to little more than a personal victory. The Bees are faltering as a long season evaporates, and a team that's technically out of the playoff picture is clearly playing like it.

"Just play good baseball," Johnson said. "Obviously, [Thursday] we had some mental mistakes that are kind of creeping into our game a little bit. We've got to eliminate those."

Raptors 11, Chukars 5 • In Ogden, the Raptors scored seven runs in the second inning and beat Idaho Falls for their seventh straight Pioneer League victory.

Tae-Hyeok Nam and Justin Boudreaux hit home runs, and Noel Cuevas hit a three-run double during the Raptors' big inning.

Boudreaux added a two-run double in the sixth inning.

Rockies 4, Owlz 2 (11) • In Orem, three singles in the 11th inning lifted Grand Junction to the victory, handing the Owlz their fourth straight loss. Michael Bolaski went 3-for-5 with an RBI for Orem. —

Storylines Padres 3, Bees 1

R Salt Lake drops its fourth consecutive game Thursday at Spring Mobile Ballpark.

• Bees starter Greg Smith throws 108 pitches in 62⁄3 innings and allows only two runs, but ends up with the loss.

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