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    It’s like he’s done this before. Manager George Tsamis throws a strike for his first pitch before the @Twins game t… https://t.co/hDRWBGbfHg via @StPaulSaints
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Getting to CHS Field

Saints Build Early Lead and Hang On Late For 7-4 Victory Over Saltdogs

ST. PAUL, MN August 15, 2019

There won’t be one easy game for the St. Paul Saints over the final two and a half weeks of the season as they try to make the playoffs for the fourth time in five years.  Even when they play a team that is out of the race as they did on Thursday night at Haymarket Park.  The Saints built a 7-0 lead and hung on for a 7-4 victory over the Lincoln Saltdogs.  The win improved the Saints to 50-33 on the season.

          The Saints wasted no time jumping on Saltdogs starter Jake Hohensee as Dan Motl led off the game with a solo home run, his fourth of the season, to make it 1-0.

          In the third the Saints used a costly error to increase their lead.  With one out Mike Aiello walked and Motl sent a fly ball to center that Nick Schultz drifted back on, but the ball hit his glove and fell to the ground for a two base error, putting runners at second and third.  Michael Lang’s RBI groundout followed by Brady Shoemaker’s RBI single made it 3-0.

          The Saints used some power in the fourth to add to the lead when Chesny Young hit a solo homer to left, his fifth of the season, increasing the lead to 4-0.

          The Saints finished their scoring in the sixth when Shoemaker walked and went to second on a groundout.  With two outs Young drove home Shoemaker with a single to right-center making it 5-0.  Chris Baker doubled to left putting runners at second and third.  Blake Schmit added a two-run single giving the Saints a 7-0 lead.

          Meanwhile Saints starter Jake Matthys was cruising through five innings.  He got double plays to end the first and second inning and didn’t have a runner reach past second base.

          In the sixth, however, the Saltdogs finally got to him with a couple of long balls.  Christian Ibarra led off with a solo homer to left-center, his 15th of the season, making it 7-1.  With one out Curt Smith walked and Josh Mazzola crushed a two-run homer to left, his third of the season, cutting the Saints lead to 7-3.

          The big moment in the game came in the seventh.  Matthys started the inning by striking out Daniel Herrera, but he reached on a dropped third strike.  Matthys then walked Ivan Marin.  Karch Kowalczyk came out of the pen with two on and nobody out and got Steve Pascual to ground into a double play.  After a walk to Ibarra, Kowalczyk got Cody Regis to fly out to end the inning.

          With two outs in the eighth the Saltdogs got a solo homer from Nick Schulz, his fourth of the season, that cut the Saints lead to three.  A walk to Tyler Moore and a hit by pitch to Herrera brought the tying run to the plate, but Kowalczyk struck out Marin to end the inning.

          In the ninth the Saints ended the game by turning their fourth double play of the night as Mike Devine picked up his second save of the night.

          The same two teams meet in the second game of the three game series at Haymarket Park on Friday night at 7:05 p.m.  The Saints send LHP Jordan Jess (5-0, 5-0, 3.74) to the mound against Saltdogs RHP Ricky Knapp (4-7, 5.74).  The game can be heard on KFAN Plus, 96.7 FM.