Four Pitchers Combine On One-Hitter As Saints Win Rain Delayed Game 1-0ST. PAUL, MN July 27, 2016
One of the shortest games of the year turned out to be the longest game of the year. The start of Wednesday’s 1:05 p.m. game was delayed by nearly two hours because of rain and another hour and a half rain delay occurred in the bottom of the third. It was well worth the wait for the St. Paul Saints as four pitchers combined to one hit the Sioux City Explorers in a 1-0 victory that actually took just 2:09 to play in front of 8,511 at CHS Field. The victory improved the Saints to 44-21 on the season.
Saints starter John Straka faced his former team for the second time this season. He gave up a two out single to LeVon Washington in the second inning and then walked Ralph Henriquez to put runners at first and second. Straka got Ino Patron to fly out to end the inning.
After Straka completed a 1-2-3 third inning the Explorers took the field and starter Graham Johnson gave up a leadoff single to Aaron Gretz. After Sam Maus tried laying a bunt down unsuccessfully the umpires pulled the players off the field because of rain. When play resumed both starters were removed and it became a battle of the bullpens.
Caleb Thielbar took over for the Saints in the fourth and retired the side in order on three fly outs.
In the fifth he walked the leadoff hitter in the inning Washington. That would be the last base runner for the Explorers all game. Thielbar struck out the side and pitched a perfect sixth going 3.0 hitless, shutout innings while walking one and striking out three.
The newest member of the Saints, Corey Williams, took over in the seventh and retired the side in order.
In the bottom of the seventh the Saints scored the lone run of the game. With one out Tanner Vavra hit a ground ball to short that Nate Samson fielded, threw to first, but Vavra was ruled safe when the first baseman Patron dropped the ball. Gretz hit a ground ball up the middle that was fielded by Tommy Mendonca at second who flipped to second for the force out. Sam Maus then doubled down the left field line and the ball ricocheted off the corner of the stands, past Derrick Robinson which allowed Gretz to score all the way from first giving the Saints the lone run of the game.
Williams would pitch a perfect eighth, earning his first win in his first game with the Saints, and Ryan Rodebaugh notched his 17th save with a perfect ninth.
In all, the Saints pitchers allowed one hit, walked two and struck out four, throwing 108 pitches, 69 for strikes. It was the first one-hitter for the Saints since Robert Coe one-hit the Lincoln Saltdogs at CHS Field on August 5, 2015. It was also the first 1-0 victory for the Saints since August 24, 2012 vs. Winnipeg at Midway Stadium in a 12 inning contest.
The Saints now head to Haymarket Park for their final series before the All-Star break as they begin a four game series against the Saltdogs on Thursday night at 6:35 p.m. The Saints send RHP Dan Johnson (1-2, 6.89) to the mound against Saltdogs RHP Shairon Martis (7-5, 3.22). The game can be heard on Club 1220 KLBB.