Saints Hold On To Beat Lemurs 9-6, Snap Three Game Losing StreakST. PAUL, MN July 22, 2016
With the possibility of tying their longest losing streak of the season on Friday night, the Saints offense exploded early and the pitching staff did enough to hold on for a 9-6 win at CHS Field against the Laredo Lemurs in front of 8,850 fans. Using seven extra base hits the Saints improve to 41-19 on the season, the best record in the American Association, and an 8.5 game lead in the North Division.
Taking advantage of first inning runs yet again, the Saints broke through right out of the gate. Alonzo Harris, back in the lead off spot, started the bottom of the first with a triple. Breland Almadova was then hit by a pitch, putting runners on the corners. Tony Thomas ripped a single through the third base side, easily plating Harris for a 1-0 Saints lead. During Trever Adams ensuing at bat, Thomas and Almadova advanced on a balk by Lemurs starter Josue Montanez, and Adams drove in Almadova on a sac fly to left field to make it 2-0.
Extra base hits helped the Saints extend their lead in the second. Nate Hanson reached to start the frame on an error by shortstop Alvaro Rondon and moved to third on a double down the left field line by Tony Caldwell. With one out Harris knocked his second extra base hit of the night, a two run double that nearly cleared the wall, making it 4-0. Almadova then hit an opposite field double, scoring Harris to make it 5-0. With two outs Angelo Songco doubled through the shift, driving in Almadova to make it 6-0.
In the third, Nate Hanson drew a two out walk and came around to score on an RBI double by Caldwell, extending the lead to 7-0
Harris led off with a walk in the fourth and came in to score when first baseman Jesus Posso committed two errors on one play. With Almadova at the plate, Harris got an early jump on a ground ball towards Cesar Valera at third. Valera’s throw pulled first was in time, but Posso pulled his foot off the bag too early as Harris was taking off to third. When Posso sent a relay to third, the throw got away from Valera, allowing Harris to score on the error to make it 7-1.
Laredo chipped away at the Saints lead in the fifth inning, scoring three runs when Leandro Castro, Zane Chavez and Denis Phipps strung together three straight run scoring hits, making it an 8-4 Saints lead.
In the seventh, starter John Straka was lifted from the game in favor of Caleb Thielbar. Facing the top of the lineup, Thielbar gave up a leadoff single to Drew Martinez followed by a Castro two run homer, his sixth of the season, cutting it to an 8-6 Saints lead.
The Saints managed to add an insurance run in the eighth inning. With one out, Tony Caldwell hit an opposite field triple, his third extra base hit of the night. He came in to score on a sacrifice fly by Tanner Vavra, pushing the Saints lead back to 9-6.
Reliever Ryan Rodebaugh allowed only one base runner in the ninth, a one out walk to Leandro Castro, before picking up his 15th save of the season. Starter John Straka pitched 6.0 innings and gave up four runs, three earned, off 11 hits while striking out four.
The same two teams face off in game two of a three game series on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. The Saints send RHP Dan Johnson (1-1, 5.91) to the mound against Lemurs RHP Troy Marks (2-4, 5.14). The first 2,000 fans will receive a free towel courtesy of Treasure Island Resort and Casino. The game can be seen on the Saints Cable Network, cable access channels in the Twin Cities, and heard on BOB FM.