Bullpen Unravels As Saints Give Up Lead In Ninth And Lose 7-6ST. PAUL, MN June 12, 2014
BULLPEN UNRAVELS AS SAINTS GIVE UP LEAD IN NINTH AND LOSE 7-6
ST. PAUL, MN (June 11, 2014) – The St. Paul Saints entered Wednesday night’s game at Midway Stadium undefeated when leading after seven innings. That is no longer the case as they gave up two runs in the top of the ninth and lost 7-6 to the Sioux Falls Canaries in front of 3,928.
The Saints bullpen came into the game second to last in ERA in the American Association at 6.61, but they had their two best relievers trying to hold the lead late. With the Saints leading 5-4 in the top of the eighth Mikey Mehlich, who had his roughest outing of the season on Tuesday night when he gave up four runs in 1.0 inning, started off strong by striking out the first two hitters he faced. Then three straight singles by Carlos Mendez, Chris Valencia and Stephen Branca scored a run to tie the game at five.
The Saints would battle in the bottom of the eighth to retake the lead without the aid of a hit. With two outs Carlos Escobar walked. Dwight Childs was hit by a pitch and Devin Thaut walked to load the bases. Joe Bonfe then hit a ground ball to third, but Mendez’ throw was in the dirt and first baseman A.J. Kirby-Jones couldn’t scoop it allowing the run to score which gave the Saints a 6-5 lead.
The Saints brought in their closer Dan Sattler who was 6-6 this season in save opportunities. He walked the leadoff hitter Steve Tinoco. Brandon Jones moved the runner over with a sacrifice bunt. Shelby Ford singled which moved Tinoco to third. A.J. Kirby-Jones walked to load the bases with one out. Chris Duffy then hit a slow roller to second and Devin Thaut recorded the out at first, but the run scored to tie the game. Mendez then hit a grounder back to the mound which was just a little right of Sattler. He reached his glove out, but the ball popped in and out and Mendez reached on the single while the eventual winning run scored.
The Saints fell behind 2-0 on solo homers by Ford in the first, his fourth of the season, and a solo homer by Duffy in the second, his fourth of the season.
The Saints, however, used the long ball to tie the game. In the fourth Joe Bonfe and Evan Bigley hit back-to-back solo homers, their second and fourth respectively, to tie the game at two. With one out Willie Cabrera walked and with two outs Joey Becker doubled him home to give the Saints a 3-2 lead.
The Saints took a 5-2 lead in the fifth when Bigley singled with two outs, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on Angelo Songco’s single. After a walk to Cabrera Brandon Tripp doubled home Songco.
The Canaries got two back with some unfortunate Saints luck. Ford led off with a triple in the sixth because Songco lost the ball in the night sky. He scored on a groundout by A.J. Kirby Jones to make it 5-3. Duffy walked and moved to third when Mendez doubled to center as Songco once again lost the ball in the night sky. A ground out by Chris Valencia scored the run to make it 5-4.
The Saints have Thursday off and head to Shaw Park for a three game series against the Winnipeg Goldeyes that begins Friday evening at 7:00 p.m. The Saints will send RHP Nick Barnese (2-1, 4.39) to the mound. The game can be heard on Club 1220 KLBB.