Saints Hang On To Beat Goldeyes 6-5, Improve To 20-9ST. PAUL, MN June 17, 2016
If Friday night was a litmus test for the St. Paul Saints to see how they would match up against a division opponent then they proved bigger and better things could be on the horizon, but just barely. In a game the Saints led early on they hung on for a 6-5 victory over the Winnipeg Goldeyes at Shaw Park improving to 20-9, the best record in the American Association.
Angelo Songco got it started in the second with a solo homer to right, his seventh of the season, to make it 1-0.
After the Goldeyes tied it in the third the Saints answered with their lone crooked number in the fourth. Songco led off with a double and advanced to third on an infield single by Tony Thomas to put runners at the corners. After Thomas stole second, and with one out, Tony Caldwell knocked home both runs with a single to right to make it 3-1. With two outs the Saints got back-to-back singles by Aaron Gretz and Breland Almadova, the latter scoring Caldwell to make it 4-1. Gretz finished the night 3-4 with a double and a run scored.
The Goldeyes wouldn’t go away, however, and in the bottom of the fifth the league’s best hitter, David Rohm hitting .371, hit his first homer of the season, a two-run homer to left, to make it 4-3.
In the sixth the teams traded runs and the Saints got theirs when Gretz doubled with two outs, moved to third on a single by Almadova and scored on Brady Burzynski’s single to make it 5-3. Burzynski had entered the game in the third for the injured Tanner Vavra.
In the bottom of the sixth Saints starter John Straka gave up a leadoff triple to Reggie Abercrombie. That chased Straka and Cody Wheeler came on in relief. Wes Darvill greeted him with an RBI single to make it 5-4. A sacrifice bunt by Casio Grider put the tying run in scoring position with one out. Burzynski then committed what could have been a costly error when he dropped a fly ball off the bat of Carlton Tanabe in right that put runners at the corners. With the speedy .355 hitting Adam Heisler at the plate Wheeler got him to hit a hard grounder to the right of shortstop Tony Thomas who fielded it fired to second and Nate Hanson’s relay throw to first was in time for the inning ending double play. Wheeler went the 1.0 inning allowing just one hit in a shutout inning of relief.
Caleb Thielbar was magnificent in holding the one run lead going 2.0 perfect innings and retired three hitters in a row in the seventh after Zac Westcott gave up a leadoff single and was removed from the game. Thielbar struck out two in his 2.0 innings of work.
In the ninth the Saints got a huge insurance run off of Goldeyes closer Jailen Peguero . Burzynski doubled with one out and with two outs Songco hit away from the shift, with a ground ball base hit where the shortstop would normally stand, scoring Burzkynski to make it 6-4. Songco went 3-5, falling a triple shy of the cycle with two RBI and two runs scored.
In the bottom of the ninth Ryan Rodebaugh came on to close it out, but he gave up a one out solo homer to Heisler, his third of the season, to cut the lead to one. Rodebaugh would get Maikol Gonzalez to strike out and Josh Romanski to ground out to earn his seventh save of the season.
The same two teams meet in game two of the three game series Saturday night at 6:05 p.m. The Saints send RHP Mark Hamburger (4-0, 3.18) to the mound against Goldeyes RHP Edwin Carl (2-1, 3.45). The game can be heard on Club 1220 KLBB.