Saints Reduce Magic Number For Playoff Spot to One in 18-2 Victory Over GoldeyesST. PAUL, MN August 30, 2016
Coming back home seemed to be a palate cleanser for the St. Paul Saints, as they exploded for 18 runs on Tuesday night against the Winnipeg Goldeyes. Coupled with a stellar start from reliever-turned-starter Corey Williams, the Saints ran away from the Goldeyes in an 18-2 victory in front of 7,996 fans at CHS Field.The 16-run margin of victory ties the largest in franchise history, and with two home runs in the game the Saints set a franchise record for most home runs hit in a season with 105. The Saints reduce their magic number to clinch a playoff spot to one and their magic number to clinch the North Division to three.
After struggling to come up with a hit with runners in scoring position over the weekend, the Saints got one in a big way in the second inning. With the bases loaded and one out, BrelandAlmadova hit into a fielder’s choice that brought home Nate Hanson from third to make it 1-0. With two outs, Alonzo Harris launched a ball into the Saints bullpen for a three-run home run, his 15th of the season, to make it 4-0.
Still leading 4-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Saints put up another crooked number by playing small ball. With runners on the corners and one out, Goldeyes starter Duke von Schamann threw wide of first base on a pickoff attempt, allowing VinnyDiFazio to race in and score while Almadovaadvanced to third, making it 5-2. Following a walk to Harris, the Saints centerfielder took off for second and on the throw to the bag, Almadova successfully stole home to make it 6-2. For Harris, the steal was his 40th of the season, breaking the Saints franchise record that he set in 2015. An RBI single by Ryan Cavan capped the scoring to make it 7-2.
The Saints took away any possibility of a comeback with an eight-run seventh inning, sending 13 men to the plate. Following a leadoff walk to Nate Hanson and a single by Angelo Songco, DiFazio came through with his first RBI of 2016, a single to left that scored Hanson to make it 8-2. After a one out single by Almadova made it 9-2, Harris struck out and Cavan was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Tony Thomas drew a walk that forced in a run and David Bergin singled in a run to extend the lead to 11-2. Nate Hanson then doubled to left to drive in a pair of runs, and in his return from the inactive list Songco ripped a two-run single into centerfield that made it 15-2.
Bergin added the final touches in the eighth with a three-run home run, his 18th of the season and third with the Saints, to make it 18-2. It was the 105th home run the Saints have hit this season, breaking the franchise record set in 2015 when the team hit 104 homers. The 16-run margin of victory also ties a Saints franchise record. It’s the seventh time they have defeated an opponent by 16 runs and the first time since July 25 of this season when the beat Sioux City 16-0.
Making just his third professional start, Williams gave the Saints a scoreless effort through his first five innings of work.
In the second, he walked two batters with one out, but got Wes Darvill to strikeout and Carlton Tanabe to ground out to end the frame.
The best threat the Goldeyes put together came in the fourth. With runners on first and second and one out, Williams induced a groundball that hopped back to the mound, which he turned into an inning ending 1-6-3 double play.
The Goldeyes broke through for their only runs in the sixth inning. After a lead off walk, Williams retired the next two batters in order before giving up a double to David Rohm. Trying to catch Rohm at second, Almadova committed a throwing error that allowed Willie Cabrera to score, making it 4-1. Williams was lifted for reliever Benji Waite who gave up an RBI single to Casio Grider that made it 4-2, closing the book on Williams night. In 5.2 innings he gave up two runs, one earned, off four hits while walking four and striking out five. It was the longest outing of Williams career.
The same two teams meet in game two of a three game series on Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m. The Saints send RHP Mark Hamburger (12-4, 3.21) to the mound against LHP Kevin McGovern (7-3, 3.72). It’s our “salute” to Nickelbackwith a nickel back giveaway to fans that can survive seven innings of nothing but Nickelback music. The game can be seen on the Saints Cable Network, cable access channels in the Twin Cities, and heard on Club 1220 KLBB.