Behind Straka's Masterful Start, Harris Bomb, Saints Shut Out Canaries 5-0ST. PAUL, MN July 12, 2016
For the second straight start St. Paul Saints right-hander John Straka made it through the seventh inning. On Tuesday night at CHS Field Straka threw 7.0 scoreless innings to help the Saints record their third shut out of the season, a 5-0 victory over the Sioux Falls Canaries. The Saints improve to 36-16, the best record in the American Association and have a 9.5 game lead over their next closest pursuers in the North Division, the Winnipeg Goldeyes and Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks.
Out of the gate Straka was in control. He retired the first seven batters he faced before allowing a one out single to catcher Michael Pair in the third. In the fourth Straka worked around another one out single, striking out first baseman David Bergin and inducing a fly out from outfielder J.C. Linares.
The first jam of the night came in the fifth. With one out, outfielder Cameron Monger hit a ground ball to Tanner Vavra at short, who’s throw bounced before it got to Angelo Songco, bounding over the leaping first baseman and eventually into the stands, sending Monger to second on the error. Michael Pair then singled to center field, putting runners on the corners with only one out. Buckling down, Straka got outfielder Ethan Chapman to strike out swinging, and forced a groundout to third by shortstop Blake Schmit to end the frame.
Straka also stranded a runner in scoring position in the sixth and seventh inning. After a strikeout of Darwin Perez to start the sixth, Taylor reached first and advanced to second on a throwing error by Nate Hanson. David Bergin struck out, but Taylor advanced to third during the at bat on a wild pitch. Linares then grounded out to short, harmlessly ending the inning.
In the seventh, Monger hit a one out double, but for the third time in as many innings, Straka struck out the next batter for the second out. He then forced a groundout to first by Ethan Chapman with his 104th and final pitch of the night. During his 7.0 innings of work, Straka scattered five hits and didn’t walk a batter while striking out six.
Yet again the Saints offense started the game hot. Following a ground out by Breland Almadova, the Saints strung together six straight hits. Tanner Vavra and Angelo Songco both singled to left before Alonzo Harris crushed a three run home run to the berm in left field, his 12th of the season, to make it 3-0. Tony Thomas and Nate Hanson then both hit singles to left and Willie Argo capped the rally, skipping a ball up the middle of the diamond to drive in Thomas, making it 4-0.
The final run of the game came in the second inning. Almadova and Vavra were retired on fly outs to start the frame, but then Songco smashed a ball through the shift to right field. Alonzo Harris followed with an infield single to put runners on first and second. A walk to Tony Thomas loaded the bases and Hanson drew a walk in the ensuing at bat to bring in Songco, making it 5-0.
Saints reliever Benji Waite threw a scoreless eighth inning and Cody Wheeler sealed the shutout with a scoreless ninth.
The series continues tomorrow night at 7:05 PM. The Saints and Canaries will wear special jerseys on Larry Doby Night presented by MidWestOne Bank. The Saints send RHP Robert Coe (6-1, 3.92) to the mound against Canaries RHP Shawn Blackwell (5-3, 6.63). The game can be seen on the Saints Cable Network, cable access channels in the Twin Cities, and heard on Club 1220 KLBB.