Game Ends On Play At Plate As Saints Hang On For 6-5 WinST. PAUL, MN May 20, 2016
At the end of the season no one will ask how you won the games you did. It’s a good thing because the St. Paul Saints won’t want to remember how they hung on to beat the Gary SouthShore Railcats 6-5 on Friday night at CHS Field in front of 8,032.
The Saints were outhit 11-5, walked nine guys and nearly blew a four run ninth inning lead, but a perfect relay throw for a play at the plate made sure that near disaster didn’t strike. With the Saints up 6-2 in the ninth reliever Alec Crawford struck out the first two hitters he faced. That’s when the wheels came off. Jose Gonzalez doubled and Elbert Devarie singled off the shin of second baseman Sam Maus on a backhanded attempt up the middle that allowed Gonzalez to score making it 6-3. Crawford then walked pinch hitter Marquis Riley. That ended the night for Crawford who gave way to last season’s saves leader, Ryan Rodebaugh. He hit the first batter he faced to load the bases. Tillman Pugh then launched a fly ball down the right field line that just landed fair. Devarie and Riley scored easily, but Cameron Newell tried to score from first, ran through a stop sign at third and right fielder Breland Almadova threw a perfect relay to second baseman Maus who gunned home in plenty of time for Tony Caldwell to tag out Newell to end the game.
With the Saints trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the first the Saints scored five runs on just one hit. With one out Railcats starter Eric Eadington walked three straight hitters to load the bases. Nate Hanson’s grounder to short was mishandled by Jarred Mederos allowing a run to score, tying the game at one. Tony Thomas got the Saints first hit with an RBI single to left to make it 2-1. With two outs, bases loaded walks to Tanner Vavra and Maus forced in runs to make it 4-1. The final run of the inning scored on a wild pitch to make it 5-1.
It stayed that way until the sixth when the Railcats got a run off of starter Robert Coe. Gonzalez led off with a double and, with two outs, Coe departed the game for reliever Cody Wheeler. Newell greeted Wheeler with an RBI single to center to make it 6-2. Coe went 5.2 innings allowing two runs on five hits while walking five and striking out four. He picked up his first win of the season and 33rd in his Saints career, eight shy of setting the all-time franchise record.
In the bottom of the inning Caldwell got the run back with a solo homer to right, his first of the year, to give the Saints an all important sixth run, one that proved to be the game winner.
The same two teams meet in game three of the four game series on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. at CHS Field. The Saints send RHP Jeff Shields (NR) to the hill against Railcats RHP Karl Triana (NR). It is Star Wars Night presented by Pizza Ranch. The game can be heard on BOB FM, 106.1 in the Twin Cities, and seen on the Saints Cable Network, cable access channels in the Twin Cities Metro Area.