Saints Hold On For 2-1 Victory Over RailcatsST. PAUL, MN August 9, 2016
U.S. Steel Yard is not a hitters paradise and it showed on Tuesday night. The St. Paul Saints and Gary SouthShore Railcats each collected four hits, but the Saints had the bounces go their way in a 2-1 victory. The win improved the Saints to a season best 28 games over .500 at 51-23, best in the American Association.
Saints starter Dan Johnson had his second consecutive solid start. He gave up a leadoff double in the bottom of the first by Cameron Newell, but stranded him at third to end the inning.
In the third Johnson gave up the lone run by the Saints. He hit the leadoff batter John Holland and Jarred Mederos singled him to second. A sacrifice by Newell put runners at second and third with one out. Reggie Wilson hit a chopper to third that Tanner Vavra fielded, thought about going home, but took the sure out at first, giving the Railcats a 1-0 lead.
The Saints gave Johnson a 2-1 lead in the fifth when Tony Caldwell walked against spot starter Travis McGee. He departed for reliever John Kovalik, whom the Railcats signed before the game. Willie Argo singled to left moving Caldwell to second. Aaron Gretz then hit a chopper over the head of Frank Martinez at first scoring Caldwell and sending Argo to third tying the game at one. A wild pitch scored Argo to give the Saints a one run lead.
The defining moment in the game came in the bottom of the inning when Chase Harris reached on an infield single to second when Alonzo Harris couldn’t get the ball out of his glove. With two outs Harris stole second and Newell walked. A passed ball moved the runners up to second and third. On a 2-2 pitch Johnson bounced a pitch in the dirt that Gretz knocked down about five feet in front of him. As Johnson raced to cover home, he grabbed the ball and tagged out Harris trying to score to end the inning.
In the sixth Johnson gave up a leadoff single to Wilson and, with two outs, hit Jose Gonzalez. Johnson was removed for Corey Williams who retired EJ Devarie on a fielder’s choice to end the inning.
Williams walked the leadoff man Harris in the seventh, but on a 3-2 pitch to Holland, threw over to first as Harris took off and the Saints tagged him out in a rundown. Williams would strike out Holland and Mederos to end the inning. Williams went 1.1 shutout innings while walking one and striking out two.
Once again Caleb Thielbar and Ryan Rodebaugh slammed the door shut with Thielbar tossing a shutout inning of relief, with the only runner reaching on a dropped third strike, and striking out two while Rodebaugh collected his league leading 22nd save of the season with a perfect ninth while striking out one. Rodebaugh now has 47 saves in his Saints career, tied for second most in franchise history with Matt Hammons (2005-06). He is five shy of breaking Chris Chavez’ (2003-04) record of 51.
The same two teams meet in the finale of the three game series on Wednesday afternoon at 1:10 p.m. The Saints send RHP Mark Hamburger (11-2, 2.55) against Railcats RHP Taylor Black (4-5, 5.93). The game can be heard on Club 1220 KLBB.