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Getting to CHS Field

North Division Series Champs: Saints Win 1-0 Head To American Association Championship Series

ST. PAUL, MN September 8, 2018

It was everything one would expect a playoff clinching game would be and then some.  A well-pitched game, a single run that proved to be the difference and when it was all said and done the Saints defeated the Gary SouthShore RailCats 1-0 to win the best-of-five series three-games-to-one.  They Saints are now headed to the American Association Championship Series for the first time since 2011 where they will either face the Sioux City Explorers or Kansas City T-Bones.


          The Saints had the better of the scoring opportunities throughout the night and it started in the first.  Kyle Barrett, who ended the season with a 27-game hitting streak and had hit safely in each game of the playoffs, reached on a one out infield single to short.  He stole second, but Burt Reynolds struck out and Brady Shoemaker lined out to first.


          In the third Joey Wong walked with one out and moved to second on a single to center by Max Murphy.  Barrett’s ground out to third moved the runners up.  After a walk to Reynolds loaded the bases, Shoemaker grounded out to second to end the inning.


          In the fourth Zach Walters led off with a single to left and was sacrificed to second.  Justin O’Conner struck out and Dan Motl popped out to end the inning.


          In the fifth the Saints would score the only run of the game.  With two outs Barrett reached on catcher’s interference.  He stole his second base of the night.  On an 0-2 pitch, Reynolds looped a single into left-center that drove home Barrett.


          That was all the Saints pitching staff needed.  Trevor Foss got the start and was magnificent.  He retired the first seven men of the game before walking Andy DeJesus with one out in the third.  Foss struck out Will Savage, but D.K. Carey singled to right-center putting runners at the corners.  Then the play of the game occurred.  With the outfield playing shallow because of a stiff wind blowing in, Alex Crosby drove a ball to deep right that Murphy raced back some 75-100 feet and made an incredible running catch to end the inning.


          In the fifth, with the Saints up 1-0 Foss gave up a leadoff single to Randy Santiesteban.  The RailCats led the league in sacrifice hits in the regular season, but instead of moving the runner over DeJesus swung away and grounded into a double play.  Foss then got Savage to ground out to end the inning.  Foss went 6.0 shutout innings allowing four hits while walking one and striking out four.


          Beck Wheeler came out of the bullpen and pitched a perfect seventh while striking out two.


          In the eighth Wheeler gave up a one out single to Savage and a groundout by Carey moved Savage to second.  Lefty Ken Frosch came on in relief to face the lefty Crosby.  Frosch struck him out to end the inning.  Wheeler went 1.2 shutout innings giving up one hit while striking out two while Frosch retired the only man he faced.


          In the ninth Zack Jones closed it out with a perfect inning including a strikeout of Andy Paz to end the game.


          It was the second 1-0 win for the Saints in the playoffs, the other occurring two years to the day when the Saints won 1-0 in Game 1 of the Division Series against the Winnipeg Goldeyes.  The Saints only other 1-0 games was a loss in 2005 in Game 4 of the Division Series to the RailCats at the U.S. Steel Yard, a series they would lose in five games.


          The Saints will now host Games 1 and 2 of the American Association Championship Series on Tuesday, September 11 and Wednesday, September 12 at CHS Field, both games at 7:05 p.m.  Fans can purchase tickets at saintsbaseball.com and beginning Monday at 9:00 a.m. they can order them by calling 651-644-6659 or by visiting the Saints box office.