Getting to CHS Field

An Imperfect Start, A Perfect Ending, Saints Stave Off Elimination With Improbable 6-4 Win, Trail NDCS 2-1

ST. PAUL, MN September 7, 2019

They didn’t have a hit.  They didn’t even have a baserunner.  Through 6.0 innings on Saturday night at CHS Field in front of 3,062 the St. Paul Saints had a perfect game being thrown against them by Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks lefty Tyler Pike.  Their season looked to be all but over down 4-0.  In the seventh, however, they found a way.  The Saints scored four in the seventh and two in the eighth to win Game 3 of the North Division Championship Series 6-4 and force Game 4 on Sunday evening at 5:05 p.m.  The Saints trail the best-of-five series 2-1.

          Pike retired the first 18 men he faced and the Saints hit just a couple of balls hard.  In the seventh, Dan Motl led off with a looper into left-center field to break up the perfect game.  Michael Lang followed with a ground ball base hit between short and third.  That brought up Brady Shoemaker who unloaded on a pitch and crushed a three-run homer to left, his first of the playoffs, to make it 4-3.  Two batters later Josh Allen tied it up with a solo blast to right, his second of the playoffs, tying the game at four.  Pike went from 6.0 perfect innings to giving up four runs on four hits in 6.2 innings.

          In the eighth the RedHawks went with former starter, left-hander Sebastian Kessay.  Blake Schmit led off the inning with a walk.  Motl sacrificed him to second.  A wild pitch moved Schmit to third and Lang walked to put runners at the corners.  The RedHawks intentionally walked Shoemaker to load the bases.  John Silviano came through with a sacrifice lineout to center, scoring Schmit to give the Saints a 5-4 lead.  The RedHawks went to the bullpen for right-hander Michael Hope to face the right-hand hitting Jeremy Martinez.  Martinez promptly singled to left driving home Lang to give the Saints a two-run lead at 6-4.

          In the ninth Tanner Kiest came on to close it out.  He walked the leadoff hitter Chris Jacobs, but Correlle Prime lined out to first, Leo Pina struck out looking and Wilfredo Gimenez ended the game by hitting into a fielder’s choice to short.

          The game was scoreless for the first three innings, but in the fourth Jacobs drilled a solo homer to dead center, his second of the playoffs, giving the RedHawks a 1-0 lead.

          In the fifth Brennan Metzger led off with a walk, advanced to second on a throwing error by pitcher Eddie Medina on a pickoff attempt, and went to third on a wild pitch.  With one out, Devan Ahart singled over the head of Lang in right scoring Metzger to make it 2-0.  A walk to Jacobs put runners at first and second and starter Eddie Medina was removed for Karch Kowalczyk.  He struck out the first hitter he faced, but gave up an RBI single to Pina to make it 3-0.

          In the seventh, the RedHawks added to their lead against reliever Todd Van Steensel.  He walked the first two hitters he faced in Ahart and Jacobs.  Prime made it 4-0 with an RBI single to center, a lead that looked safe with Pike on the mound, but the Saints found a way to get off the mat and win the game.

          Game 4 of the NDCS is Sunday evening at 5:05 p.m. at CHS Field.  The Saints send RHP Ryan Zimmerman (7-3, 4.16) to the mound while the RedHawks are TBA.  The game can be heard on KFAN Plus, 96.7 FM and seen on the Saints Cable Netowrk, cable access channels in and around the Twin Cities area.