Saints Lower Magic Number To Six, Win Eighth Straight In 7-4 Comeback Victory Over GoldeyesST. PAUL, MN August 8, 2015
SAINTS LOWER MAGIC NUMBER TO SIX, WIN EIGHTH STRAIGHT IN 7-4 COMEBACK VICTORY OVER GOLDEYES
ST. PAUL, MN (August 8, 2015) – Not even one of the best pitchers in the American Association could stand in the way of the St. Paul Saints on Saturday night. The Saints came back from two run deficits twice and came from behind to defeat the Winnipeg Goldeyes 7-4 in front of 8,524. The win improved the Saints record to 56-16, they now own the season series against the Goldeyes thus reducing their magic number by three, to six in order the clinch the North Division and won for the eighth straight time.
The Saints had not trailed in their seven previous wins, but the Goldeyes took the lead in the first when Casey Haerther singled with two outs. He moved to second on a single by Josh Mazzola. Reggie Abercrombie made it 1-0 with an RBI single. Brad Boyer’s grounder was booted by second baseman Dan Kaczrowski allowing Mazzola to score making it 2-0.
The Saints were facing Nick Hernandez, who entered play with the fifth best ERA in the league at 2.20. They finally broke through against him in the fourth when Willie Argo led off with a double. Vinny DiFazio then drilled a two-run homer to left, his 13th of the season, to tie the game at two.
In the fifth the Goldeyes snatched the lead right back as Casio Grider led off with a single to center. Haerther doubled to the left-center field gap that put runners at second and third. A sacrifice fly by Mazzola and an RBI single from Abercrombie gave the Goldeyes a 4-2 lead.
For the Saints it’s been a different player each night and the bottom of the order came through in the sixth inning. With one out DiFazio singled and Angelo Songco was hit by a pitch. With two outs Ryan Lashley singled to left to load the bases. Number seven hitter Steve Nikorak then drilled a ball to center field that went over the head of Abercrombie. It initially looked like it would clear the bases, but the ball bounced over the wall for a ground rule double plating two and tying the game at four. The Saints, however, got a fortunate play when the next hitter, Anthony Phillips, hit a 40 foot dribbler down the third base line for an infield single scoring Lashely to give the Saints a 5-4 lead.
With Saints starter Jeff Shields departing after 6.0 innings allowing four runs (three earned) reliever Mike Zouzalik pitched 2.0 perfect innings striking out four.
That allowed the Saints to get two insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth when Nikorak drilled a two-run opposite field homer to right, his fifth of the season, to give the Saints a three-run cushion.
Ryan Rodebaugh closed it out in the ninth with the help from his defense. With one out Luis Alen lined a ball into right field, but for the second time this season Mike Kvasnicka threw out a base runner at first. After Adam Heisler was hit by a pitch Rodebaugh struck out Grider to pick up his league leading 18th save.
The same two teams meet in game two of the three game series Sunday evening at 5:05 p.m. The Saints send LHP Pedro Hernandez (7-2, 4.02) to the mound against Goldeyes RHP Anthony Smith (3-2, 3.81). It is Things You Can POP presented by Dermatology Consultants. The game can be seen on the Saints Cable Network, Cable Access Channels in the Twin Cities area, heard on Club 1220 KLBB and in the ballpark on 97.9 FM.