Hamburger Sets Two Records With Complete Game, But Loses First Of Season 3-2ST. PAUL, MN July 30, 2016
Mark Hamburger would have hoped for a better fate in setting two records on Saturday night at Haymarket Park. He hurled his sixth complete game of the season, breaking the single-season franchise record and tying the American Association single-season record. It was also the 11th of his career, breaking the career franchise record once held by Charlie Ruud (2005-09). The problem was, it came in a 3-2 loss to the Lincoln Saltdogs, Hamburgers first loss of the season. With the loss the Saints are now 46-22 and have an 8.0 game lead in the North.
With the Saints down 2-1 in the top of the eighth they looked poised to have a big inning. Alonzo Harris led off with a walk and Brady Burzynski singled to center to put runners at first and second. Tony Thomas then dropped down a perfect bunt up the third base line for a single to load the bases. Starter Ryan O’Sullivan departed for reliever Stephen Shackleford as Dan Johnson stepped to the plate. Johnson didn’t have the same success from his previous two games as he grounded into a double play that scored the tying run and put the go ahead run at third. Trever Adams, however, struck out to end the inning.
In the bottom of the eighth, with one out, Hamburger hit Luis Alen and then walked his first batter of the night, Brandon Jacobs. Rene Leveret singled to center loading the bases. Curt Smith’s sacrifice fly to center proved to be the difference giving the Saltdogs the one run lead. Hamburger went 8.0 innings allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits while walking one and striking out four. While he fell to 11-1 he lowered his ERA to 2.49. It was the fourth complete game loss of his Saints career. The last loss for Hamburger in a Saints uniform was also a complete game loss in his final start of 2013, a 4-0 loss to the Sioux City Explorers at Midway Stadium.
The Saints took a 1-0 lead in the first when Harris led off with a single to left. Burzynski dropped down a bunt single to put runners at first and second. Thomas’ sacrifice bunt moved the runners over and a wild pitch scored Harris to make it 1-0. With a runner at third and one out the Saltdogs drew the infield in and Johnson grounded out to first, holding Burzynski at third. Adams grounded out to end the inning.
Hamburger retired the first nine men he faced before giving up a leadoff single to Robby Kuzdale in the fourth. That’s when the Saints defense fell apart committing three errors over the next three hitters. Alen’s roller to short hit off the heel of Thomas’ glove putting runners at first and second. Jacobs hit a grounder to short and Thomas underhanded to second for the first out, but Sam Maus’ throw to first went wide allowing Kuzdale to score tying the game at one. Leveret then hit a grounder to third that went off the glove of Tanner Vavra for the third error of the inning. Hamburger would get Curt Smith to ground into an inning ending double play.
In the fifth the Saltdogs took a 2-1 lead when Jon Smith led off with a single and was sacrificed to second. With two outs Dainer Moreira singled home Smith that put the Saltdogs up a run.
The same two teams meet in the finale of the four game series on Sunday afternoon at 2:05 p.m. The Saints send RHP John Straka (8-3, 5.22) to the mound against Saltdogs RHP Matt Larkins (6-3, 2.74). The game can be heard on Club 1220 KLBB.