Hamburger Is Ace Worthy As Saints Win Game 1 Of Division Series 1-0ST. PAUL, MN September 8, 2016
Mark Hamburger was the ace of the St. Paul Saints pitching staff all season. He was one of the best pitchers in the league all season long. On Thursday night at Shaw Park he proved he could carry it over to the playoffs tossing 8.0 shutout innings, but the Saints needed their closer Ryan Rodebaugh to pitch out of a bases loaded, one out jam in the ninth. He was able to do that and the Saints hung on for a 1-0 win over the Winnipeg Goldeyes in Game 1 of the best-of-five Division Series.
With the Saints leading by a run in the ninth lefty Caleb Thielbar started the inning by facing left-hand hitting Josh Romanski. On an 0-2 pitch Romanski slapped a single to left. Thielbar departed for the Saints closer, Rodebaugh, who led the league in saves with 23. David Rohm muscled a looper into center for a single to put runners at first and second. Casio Grider sacrificed both runners over and the Saints elected to intentionally walk Wes Darvill. With the bases loaded and one out the Goldeyes pinch hit left-hand hitting Jacob Rogers for the ninth place hitter, Carlton Tanabe. Rodebaugh struck out Rogers looking for the second out of the inning. That brought up the leadoff man in the order Adam Heisler, who hit .300 during the season. Rodebaugh got him to hit a weak grounder to Ryan Cavan at second, but the ball took an odd bounce at the end. Cavan was able to cradle the ball and just throw out Heisler at first to end the game.
From the beginning Hamburger was able to pitch out of each jam he got into and it started in the first. With two outs Willie Cabrera reached on an infield single to second and Reggie Abercrombie followed with a broken bat pop up single to the back of the infield grass at second. That’s when the play of the game occurred as Romanski hit a liner to deep right. Breland Almadova raced back, jumped up and caught the ball as he crashed into the wall to end the inning.
In the second the Goldeyes once again put two on. With one out Grider reached on a throwing error by Nate Hanson at third when first baseman Angelo Songco came off the bag to receive the throw. Wes Darvill followed with a single to right putting runners at first and second. With two outs Heisler lined out to right to end the inning.
In the fourth the Goldeyes made their costliest mistake of the night. Romanski and Rohm led off with back-to-back singles to put runners at first and second. With Grider up, he tried to lay down a bunt, but missed, and Romanski strayed too far from second. Vinny DiFazio gunned a throw down to get Romanski. Hamburger would get Grider to fly out and Darvill to ground out to end the inning.
Beginning with the two outs at the end of the fourth Hamburger retired 12 of 13 before a one out infield single to short by Maikol Gonzalez in the eighth. Hamburger would get Cabrera to fly out and Abercrombie to foul out to end the inning. Hamburger went 8.0 shutout innings allowing seven hits while striking out two.
The Saints managed just four hits on the night, two from David Bergin and two from Nate Hanson, but they scored their lone run without the aid of a hit. In the third Goldeyes starter Mikey O’Brien hit Almadova. He advanced to second on a wild pitch, one of four unleashed by O’Brien. Almadova advanced to third on a groundout by Alonzo Harris and scored on a sacrifice fly from Ryan Cavan.
The Saints had other opportunities. In the fourth Hanson led off with a double to right, but Songco popped out to third, DiFazio lined out to deep center and Trever Adams flew out to center.
In the seventh Adams led off with a walk. Almadova laid down a bunt in front of home plate, but Tanabe had trouble picking it up and Almadova reached on the error. Harris was asked to sacrifice, but couldn’t get the first two attempts down. He then lined one to shallow right, and with Romanski playing shallow, made the catch about shin high. Adams strayed too far from second and was doubled off. Cavan would line out to end the inning. O’Brien was strong going 7.0 innings allowing one run on three hits while walking four and striking out five.
The Saints won three 1-0 games in the regular season and this is their first 1-0 win in the playoffs. Prior to this season they had won just eight 1-0 games in their previous 23 seasons.
Game 2 of the best-of-five Division series is Friday night at 7:05 p.m. at Shaw Park. The Saints send RHP Robert Coe (11-3, 4.24) to the mound against Goldeyes RHP Edwin Carl (10-6, 4.70). The game can be heard on BOB FM.
Tickets for Game 3 of the Division Series at CHS Field on Saturday, September 10 are on sale at the Saints box office on Friday from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. or by calling 651-644-6659. The box office will open at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Tickets are always available online at saintsbaseball.com.
Ticket prices for the playoffs are the same as the regular season: $5 for berm seating (available only on day of game in person at the box office), $6 for bleacher seats, $12 for the drink rail, $14 for outfield reserved, $16 for infield reserved and $18 for home plate reserved. Tickets purchased on the day of the game are an additional $2 per ticket. Children under the age of 12 and seniors 65 and older receive $1 off the admission price. Children under 2 that don't require a seat are free.