Backman Returns To Bench As Jordany Valdespin Still Sits Out Suspension; Las Vegas Loses Fifth Straight

By Michael Lecolant

Manager Wally Backman returned from a two game suspension in-time to pilot his team through their fifth consecutive loss.  In his absence, the 51’s lost two straight to the Nashville Sounds.  On Saturday night, Wally’s club dropped the opening game of a four game series against the Memphis Redbirds.

May 30, 2013; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Mets outfielder Jordany Valdespin (1) sits on the dugout steps during a game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Meanwhile, the Las Vegas 51’s again played last night’s game without Jordany Valdespin, who began serving his three game suspension on Friday for his role in last Monday’s on-field altercation.  The player seemingly in constant need of attitude adjustment, Jordany once again drew the ire of the opposition by hot-dogging a home run trot against Sacramento.   Once the teams exchanged purpose pitches; one received by Valdespin himself; benches later emptied while the two managers engaged in heated pleasantries.  Something about their meeting earned Backman some time off.

The 51’s struck first in Memphis, taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning on Jamie Hoffmann‘s seventh home run of the season.  But the Redbirds struck back for three runs in the bottom of the frame against Las Vegas starting pitcher Matt Fox.

The 51’s clawed back with a run in the sixth inning on Ruben Tejada‘s RBI double, and tied the game in the eighth inning when Ruben Tejada scored from third on a fielder’s choice.  However, the Redbirds retook the lead in the bottom of the eighth on a sacrifice fly off reliever John Church, and held on for a 4-3 victory.

The loss dropped Las Vegas to 60-53, and their Pacific Southern Division lead over the second place Sacramento River Cats is now just a half game.  Sunday’s Game Two match-up will feature Rafael Montero pitching for Las Vegas, opposed by Michael Wacha for Memphis.

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