Saints Lose 3-2 On Walk-Off Pinch Hit Homer In NinthST. PAUL, MN August 28, 2016
The St. Paul Saints are doing themselves no favors in trying to clinch a playoff berth. For the second time in their last four road games the Saints scored in the top of the ninth only to see the home team hit a big home run in the bottom of the ninth. This time it was a walk-off, two-run pinch hit home run by Jon Smith of the Lincoln Saltdogs as the Saints lost 3-2 on Sunday evening at Haymarket Park. The Saints are now 57-36, but maintain a 3.0 game lead in the North Division by virtue of Winnipeg’s loss and reduce their magic number to two to clinch a playoff berth by virtue of Laredo’s loss on Sunday.
In the top of the ninth with the game tied at one David Bergin lined a single to left against Saltdogs closer Evan Reed. Nate Hanson then dropped a single into left-center to put runners at first and second. A wild pitch advanced the runners with Tony Thomas at the plate. He then hit a fly ball to shallow left that was caught by Brandon Jacobs. Bergin tagged from third, the throw was a little high and Bergin just slid in under the tag to give the Saints a 2-1 lead.
In the bottom of the ninth Ryan Rodebaugh, who had blown just one save all season, retired the first batter of the inning, Ryan Wiggins, on a fly out to right. With one Juan Martinez walked. Pinch hitter Jon Smith stepped to the plate having hit 10 home runs this season. On an 0-1 pitch Smith hit an opposite field two-run, walk-off homer just inside the left field pole to give the Saltdogs the win.
It was a pitcher’s duel from the beginning with the best pitcher in the league, Lindsey Caughel and his 2.03 ERA, going for the Saltdogs going up against Saints lefty Kramer Sneed.
Neither pitcher gave up much of anything until the fifth when Thomas led off the inning with a solo homer off Caughel, his 13th of the season, to give the Saints a 1-0 lead. Caughel went 8.0 innings allowing one run on three hits while walking one and striking out nine and reduced his ERA to 1.97.
In the bottom of the seventh Sneed gave up a one out single to Austin Gallagher. Wiggins sacrificed him to second and, with two outs, Sneed was removed for Caleb Thielbar. On the first pitch to Martinez he whacked a game tying single to left. Sneed went 6.22 innings allowing one run on three hits while walking two and striking out eight.
The Saints take Monday off and will welcome in the Winnipeg Goldeyes to CHS Field on Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. The Saints send LHP Corey Williams (1-2, 5.06) to the mound against Goldeyes RHP Duke Von Schamann (8-6, 4.43). It is the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek. Also, the first 500 fans will receive blankets and sunscreen courtesy of FunJet vacations. FunJet and Travel Leaders will be offering a chance to go where many travel enthusiasts have gone before with a vacation package giveaway to one lucky fan. The game can be seen on the Saints Cable Network, cable access channels in the Twin Cities, and heard on Club 1220 KLBB.