History Doesn't Repeat Itself, Hamburger Tosses Complete Game In 3-1 Win, Saints 34-16 At Halfway MarkST. PAUL, MN July 9, 2016
Three years ago Mark Hamburger stood on the mound at Newman Outdoor Field attempting to throw a complete game. What unfolded was a disaster as his defense let him down and a walk-off two-run home run gave the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks the win and their 1,000th victory in franchise history and Hamburger finished an out shy of the complete game. Hamburger, who is now 9-0, made sure he got his complete game as the St. Paul Saints won 3-1 on Saturday night as Hamburger earned his fourth complete game of the season. The Saints are 34-16 halfway through their 100 game schedule, best record in the American Association, and an 8.0 game lead in the North Division.
The lone run Hamburger gave up came in the second. Brian Humphries reached on a bunt single With one out Kes Carter doubled just out of the reach of a diving Alonzo Harris in left-center scoring Humphries to make it 1-0 RedHawks.
After that Hamburger got into a groove and retired the side in order in the fourth. In the fifth, after a leadoff single to Bryan Johns, Hamburger got a 3-6-1 double play as he made an athletic stretch at first to make sure of the out.
In the sixth and seventh Hamburger retired the side in order and had retired eight in a row until he ran into trouble in the eighth with the Saints clinging to a 2-1 lead. Johns hit a soft groundball to the right side that got into right field between first and second. Then Hamburger tried to pick him off, but his throw was wide and allowed Johns to move to second. Then Hamburger did something he hadn’t done in 21.2 innings, he walked a hitter as K.D. Kang got the free pass to put runners at first and second with nobody out. Hamburger, however, would get Ryan Pineda to line out to right without anyone advancing. He then got .353 hitter Keury De La Cruz to fly out to left and .316 hitter Josh Mazzola to fly out to right to end the inning.
In the ninth Hamburger made quick work of the first two hitters before Carter doubled to right. With the tying run at the plate Hamburger made sure history didn’t repeat itself as he got Luke Bailey to ground out to second to end the game. Hamburger tossed the complete game allowing one run on seven hits while walking one and striking out a season tying high seven. He has now thrown back-to-back complete games and improved to a perfect 9-0. He now has nine complete games in his Saints career, one shy of the franchise record of Charlie Ruud who pitched from 2005-09, a total of 79 starts. Hamburger has started just 32. He threw 106 pitches on the night, 78 for strikes.
With the Saints trailing 1-0 in the fourth they tied it up when Willie Argo singled, but was erased on a fielder’s choice by Chad Christensen. He stole second, one of six steals by the Saints on the night, and Sam Maus, hitting just .164, doubled over the head of De La Cruz in right to score Christensen and tie the game at one.
In the sixth Argo reached on an error by shortstop Johns. He would steal second and third. Breland Almadova then hit a grounder off the glove of pitcher Will Solomon that ricocheted to the shortstop Johns who barehanded it, and try to get Argo at home with an off balance throw, but it went to the backstop as Argo scored to make it 2-1.
In the ninth the Saints got an insurance run when Alonzo Harris hit a solo homer off the pole in left, his 11th of the season, to give the Saints a two run cushion.
The same two teams meet in the finale of the four game series on Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. The Saints send RHP Alec Crawford (1-3, 8.89) to the mound against RedHawks RHP Richie Mirowski (1-1, 1.10). The game can be heard on Club 1220 KLBB.