SALT LAKE CITY — When the Bees took the field Friday night, a player who has become a staple at Smith's Ballpark over the last few years was not among them. Efren Navarro, the franchise leader in hits, had been called up to the big leagues.
Navarro's promotion was the fifth call-up for the Bees over the last week and 12th of the season. With Salt Lake losing so many players, it has gone on to lose five straight and six of the last eight games. Friday was more of the same as the Bees fell to Las Vegas 6-3 in front of a crowd of 4,525.
"I want to win, for the guys more so than for me and my record, I want these guys to feel the fruits of their labor," Bees manager Keith Johnson said. "At the same time our goal is to get them to the big leagues and have them contribute to a winning ball club up there, and we have had a bunch of guys that have done that."
For the last week, Navarro, the one-time minor league golden glove first baseman, has been playing in the outfield. Johnson said on Thursday that the shift to the outfield was made per request of the Angels. On Friday night, Navarro was starting in left field for Los Angeles.
Navarro went 2-for-4 in his season debut with Los Angeles, hitting two doubles and scoring a run.
"He has worked his behind off, and he went out and added some value to himself by playing a pretty good outfield," Johnson said. "It is well deserved and it's a nice story for someone with perseverance and a great work ethic."
With three of their top hitters this season playing for the Angels, the Bees' lack of offense was exposed by Vegas starter Rafael Montero.
The right-hander pitched 6.1 innings without giving up a hit and the 51's used his performance to jump out to a 4-0 lead. Montero left the game after throwing 98 pitches of no-hit ball. The Bees were happy to see him go.
Taylor Lindsey was the first batter up after Montero exited and he sent a drive down the right field line for a double to end the no-hit game. Lindsey would eventually score on a Brennan Boesch single.
Salt Lake plated two more runs in the seventh and had the bases loaded with two outs, but Boesch grounded out to end the rally.
"We're not going to win them all, right now we're just trying to win one. We did a much better job in minimizing damage and for the most part we competed and at some point we are going to come out of this."