Saints Lose Late Lead to Goldeyes, Fall 3-2ST. PAUL, MN August 31, 2016
With their ace Mark Hamburger on the mound, the St. Paul Saints appeared to be on their way to defeating the Winnipeg Goldeyes and clinching a berth in the playoffs on Wednesday night. However, the Goldeyes put together another late rally to charge back and claim a 3-2 victory over the Saints in front of 7,981 fans at CHS Field. Even though he took the loss, Hamburger tossed a complete game and broke several American Association records, claiming the all-time mark for innings pitched in a season with 157.2 innings and complete games in a season with his seventh of the year. The Saints are now 58-37 and see their lead in the North Division reduced back to 3.0 games. Their magic number to clinch a playoff berth is still one.
Leading 2-1 going into the ninth inning, Hamburger came back out to try and close out the game. With one out, Reggie Abercrombie and Josh Romanski both singled to put men on first and second. David Rohm then hit a groundball that second baseman Ryan Cavan flipped to Tanner Vavra for the force at second, but Vavra was unable to pull the ball out of his glove and turn a double play, putting runners on the corners with two outs on the fielder’s choice. On the first pitch of the next at bat, Wes Darvill hit a slicing opposite field double out of the reach of Tony Thomas in left field, scoring both runners to give the Goldeyes a 3-2 lead.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, the Saints were able to get the tying run into scoring position with one out when Vavra reached on an error by Darvill. Goldeyes reliever Winston Abreu then struck out Breland Almadova and Alonzo Harris to secure the win for the Goldeyes and his fifth save of the season.
The Saints were able to hold onto their lead in the eighth inning thanks to an incredible defensive play. David Rohm started the frame with a double that was followed by a Darvill single. Hamburger was able to strike out Casio Grider and induce a fly out by pinch hitter Jacob Rogers for the first two outs of the inning, but surrendered an RBI single to right by Adam Heisler that made it 2-1. Maikol Gonzalez then hit a sharp single to right field that Almadova fielded on a hop and delivered a strike to home plate. Attempting to evade the tag of Vinny DiFazio, Darvill jumped in the air but DiFazio tagged his foot to record the final out of the frame and maintain the lead. It was Almadova’s league-leading 12th outfield assist of the season.
Through the first seven innings of the game, Hamburger was spectacular. He allowed just one runner to advance into scoring position and retired 11 in a row from the fourth inning to the end of the seventh. On the night, Hamburger threw 9.0 innings and gave up three runs off nine hits while walking two and striking out eight. His 157.2 innings pitched this season breaks the American Association record of 155.1 innings pitched set by Ben Moore and Kyle Ruwe of the Sioux Falls Canaries in 2013. Hamburger’s seventh complete game of the year also breaks the American Association record of six held by Jason Jarvis of Sioux City (2012), Matt Way of Laredo (2012) and Jarrett Gardner of Lincoln (2008).
The only runs for the Saints came in the first inning. After a two out walk to Tony Thomas, David Bergin launched an opposite field two-run home run, his 19th of the season and fourth with the Saints, to make it 2-0.
The same two teams meet in the series finale on Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. at CHS Field. The Saints send RHP Robert Coe (11-3, 4.46) to the mound against Goldeyes RHP Mikey O’Brien (10-4, 4.60). It will be German Night at the ballpark with $1 beers on Thirsty Thursday. The game can be seen on the Saints Cable Network, cable access channels in the Twin Cities, and online atamericanassociationbaseball.tv or saintsbaseball.com.