Bees 9, Baby Cakes 3
Matt Williams hit a two-run home run in the second inning and a run-scoring single that touched off a six-run ninth, as Salt Lake pulled away Wednesday before a S.T.E.M. Day crowd of 8,190.
The Bees (24-16) took a 3-0 lead in the series, the first time Salt Lake has won a series in New Orleans since 2005 when it was called the Stingers.
“We have to do a better job of putting bats together and driving the baseball,” manager Arnie Beyeler said. “It's hard to win ballgames when you score one or two runs.”
Center fielder Isaac Galloway was assisted from the field with a left knee injury after a collision at home plate in the first inning and didn't return. Manager Beyeler said Galloway was taken for X-rays and didn't immediately know his status.
“There's something wrong in there,” Beyeler said. “We'll wait until the professionals tell us what's wrong.”
The Baby Cakes (13-26) trailed 3-2 entering the ninth. However, reliever Clayton Mortensen faced seven batters without getting an out, allowing four runs on four hits and three walks as Salt Lake sealed the victory.
Spin on Steckenrider
For the third consecutive Baby Cakes homestand, a scout with a Major League Baseball team acknowledged he is at the Shrine on Airline to see Cakes pitcher Drew Steckenrider.
The scout explained that Steckenrider has a lot of backspin on his pitches — most notably his fastball — that gives the ball extra life as it goes through the strike zone. Steckenrider, selected by Miami in the eighth round in 2012 from Tennessee, has a fastball that gets up to 98 miles per hour.
“Major League hitters see that all the time,” said the scout, who like many other scouts did not want to be identified. “(Steckenrider) throws an 'invisible' fastball. When a pitcher is throwing his fastball over the middle of the plate, and hitters are swinging and missing it, that tells you something else is going on.”
Steckenrider pitched the seventh and eight innings Monday and didn't allow a baserunner, striking out a season-high four batters. He hasn't allowed a run in 10 of his past 11 appearances, during which he's had a 0.69 earned-run average (one run in 13 innings). This season, batters have hit .138 against him, best among Pacific Coast League relievers.
“He has a great arm and an easy (delivery),” Cakes pitching coach Scott Budner said. “His fastball has a lot of deception, and it really jumps on hitters, and the location is tremendous. It looks like it rises. It's one of the best spin-rate fastballs in all of Minor League Baseball.
“He's getting better with his slider, and it may become his plus pitch. And, he's got a very nice feel and bottom-of-the-zone changeup, as well.”
The pitch-tracker has Stecknrider's fastball backspin at 2,529 revolutions per minute. A rate of 2,400 is good. The spin on his slider is 2,178, which also is considered excellent.
Wednesday's crowd was the largest since opening day. … Reliever Brian Ellington was called back up to the Marlins on Wednesday. He'd been sent down to New Orleans on Tuesday after being with Miami since May 7. Miami optioned right-hander Tom Koehler to New Orleans after Tuesday night's 12-2 loss to Houston. The Astros jumped on Koehler for eight runs in three innings, his earned-run average rising to 7.04. Koehler, a former Zephyrs ace, spent parts of 2011-13 with New Orleans. He is second in franchise career strikeouts, with 272.
Baby Cakes (13-26) vs. Salt Lake Bees (24-16)
7 p.m., Thursday
Shrine on Airline
RH Stephen Fife (1-2, 5.05) vs. RH Vincente Campos (0-1, 8.71)
Broadcasts: Fox Sports 1280 FM, iHeart radio app.