Salt Lake rallied for three runs in the eighth inning and loaded the bases in the ninth inning to bring the winning run up to bat, but it wasn't enough as the Bees (54-45) fell 10-7 to the Sacramento River Cats (51-47) on Thursday night at Spring Mobile Ballpark.
Sacramento starter Andrew Werner (8-12) earned the win while Salt Lake starter Dustin Richardson (3-1) took the loss in both teams' first game since the All-Star break.
Trailing 8-4 in the eighth inning, the Bees scored three runs to cut the deficit to 8-7 when Roberto Lopez tripled in two runners. Lopez scored on the play as well following a throwing error in the outfield.
But Salt Lake reliever Daniel Stange gave two of the runs back to Sacramento in the ninth, and the Bees trailed 10-7 heading into the bottom half of the inning.
Two singles and a walk with two outs loaded the bases for Efren Navarro, but the designated hitter struck out to end the contest, earning the River Cats' Brian Gordon his ninth save of the season.
The game got away from Bees lefty Richardson in the third inning when he gave up five hits and a walk that led to five runs. The inning featured a pair of doubles, a wild pitch that advanced two runners, and a two-base throwing error by the shortstop that allowed a runner to score all the way from first base.
"He got himself behind a lot," Bees manager Keith Johnson said of Richardson's outing. "He got out of the zone a little bit, which is uncharacteristic of how he's been pitching for us. … He left a few balls over the plate in hitter's counts, and they did a good job of putting the ball in play."
Richardson got into a jam again in the fourth inning, giving up a single and two walks to load the bases before escaping with two infield pop outs.
But the fifth inning brought more of the same trouble and Richardson was pulled after giving up a leadoff walk and an RBI double.
The Bees scored four runs early and tried to rally late, but their bats fell silent in the middle innings as Werner and reliever Evan Scribner combined to retire 12 straight batters from the fourth through the seventh innings.
Storylines Sacramento 10, Salt Lake 7
R The Bees' rally falls short as Efren Navarro strikes out to end the game with the bases loaded.