Saints Offense Silenced In 8-1 Loss To RedHawksST. PAUL, MN July 8, 2016
When the night began the story was former Major Leaguer Dan Johnson, who has become a knuckleball pitcher, making his first start with the St. Paul Saints. The story at the end of the game was the man he opposed, Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks starter Tyler Alexander. The Saints managed a season tying low three hits and struck out 11 times in an 8-1 loss at Newman Outdoor Field on Friday night. The Saints are 33-16, still the best record in the American Association.
Johnson had everything occur in the first inning that you would expect from a knuckleball pitcher: a walk, strikeouts and a passed ball. With one out he walked Ryan Pineda. He took second on a passed ball. Johnson fanned Keury De La Cruz for the second out. Josh Mazzola reached on an infield single to short that put runners at the corners. Brian Humphries then roped a two-run double to right, although it looked like the Saints would cut down the second run, but Alonzo Harris’ relay throw to home was high and bounced out of the mitt of Maxx Garrett allowing Mazzola to score making it 2-0.
In the second Kes Carter led off with a single to right. Carter then took off before Johnson delivered the pitch, but before Johnson stepped off the rubber he made a move toward home and was called for a balk. Luke Bailey was hit by a pitch and Bryan Johns sacrificed the runners over. An RBI single by K.D. Kang gave the RedHawks a 3-0 lead.
In the third Humphries walked with one out, and with two outs, Carter walloped a two-run homer to right, his fourth of the season, to make it 5-0.
Johnson didn’t allow a hit over his final two innings pitched and he went 5.0 innings allowing five runs on seven hits while walking two and striking out seven. He threw 109 pitches, 64 for strikes.
The five runs was enough for Alexander, although it appeared the Saints would start out on a positive note in the first inning as they have so many times this year. Harris lined a single into right field and, with one out, Nate Hanson was hit by a pitch. Angelo Songco drew the count to 3-1, but Alexander pounded the next pitch for a strike and then got Songco to ground into a 5-4-3 inning ending double play.
Alexander would retire nine in a row before the Saints scored their lone run with two outs in the fourth when Songco crushed a solo homer to right, his ninth of the season, which made it 5-1.
The Saints managed just one more hit in the seventh, an infield single on a ball Tony Thomas hit up the middle that second baseman Pineda made a diving stop on, but his throw to first wasn’t in time. Alexander would go 8.0 innings allowing one run on three hits while striking out 10.
The teams combined to strikeout 22 times, the 11 by Saints pitchers tied a season high.
The same two teams meet in game three of the four game series on Saturday night at 6:00 p.m. at Newman Outdoor Field. The Saints send RHP Mark Hamburger (8-0, 2.77) against RedHawks LHP Will Solomon (2-0, 2.11). The game can be heard on Club 1220 KLBB.