Getting to CHS Field

Saints Can't Hold Lead, Lose 8-4 To Saltdogs

ST. PAUL, MN July 30, 2017

The St. Paul Saints went toe-to-toe against the top team in the American Association for six innings, but the bullpen couldn’t hold it over the final three innings.  The Saltdogs scored seven runs in their final three at bats as the Saints lost 8-4 on Sunday afternoon at Haymarket Park.


          With the Saints down 3-2 in the top of the sixth Anthony Gallas walked and Kes Carter drilled a two-run homer to right, his sixth with the Saints and 11th of the season, to give the Saints a 4-3 lead.


          After 5.0 solid innings from spot starter Jason Hoppe the Saints turned it over to their bullpen, but Brandon Peterson was greeted with a leadoff double by Brandon Jacobs in the bottom of the sixth.  The next hitter, Nathaniel Maggio, a pure rookie out of North Greenville College who was hitting .284 on the season, looped an RBI single to left-center tying the game at four.


          In the seventh Cesar Valera doubled to deep right-center with one out.  The Saints intentionally walked Curt Smith to put runners at first and second.  Peterson departed for Vinny Nittoli.  He got Brandon Jacobs to fly out to right for the second out of the inning.  Maggio, however, did the damage again with a two-run double off the base of the wall in straightaway center, scoring both runs to make it 6-4 Saltdogs.  Maggio went 3-4 with a double and three RBI.  Peterson was charged with the runs and went 1.1 innings allowing three runs on three hits while walking two and striking out two.


          In the ninth the Saltdogs added two insurance runs as Joe Robbins led off with a double and, with one out, Christian Ibarra hit a two-run homer to left, his sixth of the season, off of Nittoli.  He went 1.0 inning allowing two runs on three hits while striking out one.


          The Saints jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first when Breland Almadova reached on a bunt single and Nate Hanson drilled a two-run homer to left, his 10th of the season.  Hanson extended his hitting streak to 11 games and became the fourth Saints hitter to collect double-digit home runs this season.


          The Saltdogs got a run back in the second when Smith led off with a walk, moved to third on a one out single by Maggio and scored on an infield single by Randolph Oduber.


          Hoppe was excellent in his spot start and made just one mistake which came in the fifth.  With two outs Matty Johnson singled to right and Valera, who had a four hit day, hit a two-run homer to left, his fourth of the season, to make it 3-2 Saltdogs.  Hoppe went 5.0 strong innings allowing three runs on six hits while walking one and striking out three.


          The Saints gave Hoppe the chance at the win in the top of the sixth with Carter’s home run, but the bullpen couldn’t hold it.


          The Saltdogs bullpen, on the other hand, was magnificent retiring all eight men they faced as Fabio Martinez tossed 1.1 perfect innings and J.R. Bunda went 2.0 perfect innings to earn his first save of the season.  The Saltdogs have won 11 straight at home, one shy of tying their franchise record of 12 which they set earlier this season.


          With the two home runs on Sunday afternoon the Saints have five straight multi-homer games and lead the league with 85.  Tim Colwell’s career high 13-game hitting streak came to an end as he went 0-4.


          The same two teams meet in game two of the three game series on Monday night at 6:45 p.m.  The Saints send the second best pitcher in the league to the mound, RHP Benji Waite (3-2, 2.17) against the fourth best pitcher in the league, Saltdogs RHP Derek Gordon (6-2, 2.76).  The game can be heard on Club 1220 KLBB.