It was a nightmare first inning for starting pitcher Sam Pastrone, and it turned into a dismal night for the Burlington Bees.
Walks, errors, infield singles and hits that found just the right spots accounted for eight runs in the first inning as the Kane County Cougars rolled to a 21-6 win over the Bees in Thursday’s Class A Midwest League game at Community Field.
The Cougars, an affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, took three wins in the four-game series.
It was a long, wild, series finale, with a noisy Bees comeback bid quickly silenced by a second eight-run inning by the Cougars in the fourth.
“We just ran out of gas after that second eight spot,” said Chad Tracy, the Los Angeles Angels’ field coordinator who was managing the Bees for this series.
Pastrone (2-2), who had walked five in 1 ⅔ innings in his last start on Saturday in West Michigan, got leadoff hitter Gabriel Maciel to hit a grounder to second baseman Franklin Torres. Torres’ throw to first base was wide for an error.
Pastrone walked Jasrado Chisholm on four pitches, then Yoel Yanqui hit a hard ground ball that glanced off the glove of third baseman Gleyvin Pineda for an infield single that loaded the bases. Renae Martinez then hit another shot down the third-base line that again hit off Pineda’s glove for a single that scored Maciel.
Ernie De La Trinidad walked with the bases loaded for the second run. Yan Sanchez then hit a ground ball that looked like a perfect setup for a double play. But shortstop Leonardo Rivas bobbled the grounder, then his throw to first was wide for the second error of the inning. Two runs scored for a 4-0 lead.
After Sanchez stole second, Joey Rose walked to load the bases, and Pastrone’s night was done. Tim Susnara then hit a hard grounder wide of first that first baseman David MacKinnon fielded. MacKinnon threw home to try for the force play, but his throw pulled catcher Keinner Pina off the plate, and De La Trinidad was called safe for the fifth run of the inning. Jancarlos Cintron singled to right field to score Sanchez for a 6-0 lead by the Cougars.
The first out finally came on the 10th hitter of the inning, when Maciel grounded back to reliever Max Herrmann, who threw home for a force out. Chisholm hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score Susnara, and Cintron came home on Yanqui’s second hit of the inning.
Martinez’s fly ball to center field ended the inning. Twenty-nine minutes after the game started, the Bees were down 8-0.
“It was a perfect storm of events in the first inning, between the errors, a little bit erratic with the control, and then when (Pastrone) made the pitches we didn’t make the plays,” Tracy said. “It was tough.”
But there was a lot of game left, and a long night was ahead.
The Bees got three runs back in the bottom of the first. Jo Adell drilled a long home run to left field, then Pina’s double scored MacKinnon.
Brandon Marsh had a two-run double in the second, then he scored on Adell’s single, and it was an 8-6 Kane County lead after two.
“It was tough,” Tracy said. “It felt like it was getting away in the first inning, and then we did an unbelievably incredible job of battling back in the game.
“I really felt the momentum had shifted back into our dugout.”
But before this could be a fun rally, the Cougars took control with their eight runs in the fourth off just six hits. Martinez had two hits and drove in three runs in the inning.
“You can’t survive two of those spurts,” Tracy said. “It was there to win. But we just didn’t have it on the mound.”
The rough start forced the Bees to use three relievers — Max Herrmann, newcomer Anfernee Benitez and James Ziemba. Designated hitter Jeyson Sanchez pitched the ninth inning, giving up three runs and three hits.
It was the second time this season a team scored 20 runs at Community Field — the Bees had a 28-7 win over Quad Cities on April 20.
ON DECK: Burlington heads to Wisconsin to begin a three-game series against Wisconsin.
NOTES: Bees pitcher Jeremy Beasley was promoted to the Angels’ High-A affiliate in Inland Empire. Beasley was 0-2 with a 2.35 earned run average with the Bees in six games, including five starts. He pitched 23 innings, allowing 16 hits while walking seven and recording 19 strikeouts. Benitez was added to the Bees’ roster from extended spring training. Benitez, a left-hander, was 0-0 with a 4.15 ERA with Kane County earlier this season. Benitez gave up five runs in 2 ⅓ innings in Thursday’s game. … With the long first inning, the game took 3 hours, 39 minutes. … MacKinnon, who leads the Midwest League in on-base percentage at .469, reached base twice in five plate appearances. … Marsh, who had just two hits in his last 23 at-bats, went 3-for-5.