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SALT LAKE CITY - The Los Angeles Angels have a rally monkey, the St. Louis Cardinals and Cleveland Indians have rally squirrels, and on Sunday afternoon the Salt Lake Bees got their own rally mascot in the form of a dove.
Between the top and bottom of the first inning, a dove made its way onto the field at Smith's Ballpark. With the bird of love watching, Salt Lake plated six runs in the first inning and the rally dove was born.
It just left too soon.
With Salt Lake up comfortably 7-3 in the fourth, the dove left the field after about an hour of being on it. The Chihuahuas took advantage of its absence, outscoring the Bees 9-3 the rest of the way to take the game 12-10.
"It should not be hard to play with any kind of lead," Bees manager Keith Johnson said. "Whether it be one run, or six runs."
El Paso scored a combined six runs in the fifth and sixth innings to take the lead 9-8. Even with the rally dove now gone, the Bees fought back. Tommy Field drove in Brennan Boesch with a ground-rule double to right field to pull Salt Lake even in the bottom of the sixth.
The Chihuahuas retook the lead the next inning with a Ricky Gale sacrifice fly to left field. Again, the Bees answered in the bottom of the inning. With runners on the corners and one out, J.B. Shuck grounded into a force out that scored Luis Martinez from third to level things up at 10.
"Our hitters are doing a great job in doing what they can to provide leads and battle back when we get behind," Johnson said. "In all three phases we have to do a better job, whether it's offense, defense or pitching. We have to combine all three of them."
Alex Castellano's sacrifice in the eighth put the Chihuahuas up for good at 11-10 and Bee reliever Ryan Chafee's wild pitch scored an insurance run in the ninth.
Down two runs in the bottom of the ninth the Bees were in need of a rally, but no dove appeared for help. Salt Lake managed to get the tying run to the plate, but Tony Campona struck out swinging to end the game.
"It's kind of a microcosm of our season," Johnson said. "We haven't been able to overcome one little thing and it becomes a big thing and we find ourselves looking up at the other team."