Coe Two Wins Shy Of All-Time Franchise Mark, Saints Blank Canaries Again 7-0ST. PAUL, MN July 13, 2016
Robert Coe is so close he can almost feel it. With one of his best outings of the season, 8.0 shutout innings, he earned his 39th career win as a St. Paul Saints pitcher, two shy of breaking the franchise record, in a 7-0 five-hit blanking of the Sioux Falls Canaries, their second consecutive shutout. The Saints have not given up a run in 23.0 consecutive innings and improved to 37-16, best record in the American Association.
Coe struggled a little with his control early on, walking three over the first four innings, but he didn’t allow a hit through the first four innings. In the fifth Coe struck out Cameron Monger, but Michael Pair lined a single up the middle to break up the no-hitter. Coe rebounded by getting a 3-6-1 inning ending double play.
The only runner to reach second against Coe came in the sixth when Darwin Perez singled with one out. Jake Taylor singled to left putting runners at first and second. A fly out off the bat of David Bergin and a fielder’s choice ground out ended the inning.
Coe got his second double play of the night in the seventh after giving up a one out single to Monger. He got his revenge on Pair getting him to ground into a 4-6-3 inning ending double play.
After retiring the side in order in the eighth Coe wouldn’t come out for the ninth. Instead Gene Escat finished up the night, giving up just a two out double, just the second runner to reach second on the night as the Canaries never had a man reach third. Coe went 8.0 shutout innings allowing four hits while walking three and striking out a season high seven.
The win was Coe’s 39th in 67 starts in his Saints career. Charlie Ruud holds the Saints record for victories with 40 in 79 starts from 2005-09.
The Saints offense struck in the first inning when they loaded the bases on a Tanner Vavra hit by pitch, a walk to Angelo Songco and a single from Alonzo Harris, who extended his hitting streak to 10. Tony Thomas’ sacrifice fly made it 1-0. It was the 55th run scored in the first inning in 53 games.
In the second the Saints padded their lead with a three run inning. Willie Argo led off with a single and stole second, one of two on the night and one of five total for the Saints. Aaron Gretz then hit a comebacker to pitcher Shawn Blackwell who ran towards Argo at second and got him in a rundown. Argo was able to race to second before being tagged, but Gretz was on the bag with him. Gretz ran back towards first and was able to avoid the tag getting back to first safely. Breland Almadova dropped down a bunt single to load the bases. A double play ground out by Brady Burzynski plated Argo to make it 2-0. A hit by pitch to Vavra and a walk to Songco loaded the bases. Harris knocked home two with a single to right-center to make it 4-0.
In the third the Saints used the running game to grab a run when Argo singled, stole second and scored on a one out single by Almadova to make it 5-0.
The Saints would tack on a run in the fourth on a sacrifice fly from Harris who finished 2-4 with three RBI and two stolen bases.
In the eighth Vavra tripled and scored on a Songco single. Vavra was 2-3 with a double, triple, two hit by pitches and four runs scored while Songco was 2-2 with an RBI, stolen base and three walks.
The same two teams meet in the finale of the three game series on Thursday night at CHS Field at 7:05 p.m. The Saints send LHP Eric Veglahn (1-2, 4.02) to the mound against Canaries LHP Joe Bircher (1-5, 3.29). It’s St. Patrick’s Day in July presented by virtuwell. The game can be seen on the Saints Cable Network, cable access channels in the Twin Cities, and heard on Club 1220 KLBB.