Saints Scoreless Streak Comes To An End, Still Sweep Canaries With 8-1 WinST. PAUL, MN July 14, 2016
With rookie Eric Veglahn on the mound the Saints 23.0 consecutive scoreless inning streak came to an end abruptly in the first inning of Thursday night’s game. Following that batter, the left-hander settled down and the Saints put together a solid offensive night in front of 8,728 at a soggy CHS Field with an 8-1 win and a series sweep of the Sioux Falls Canaries. The Saints have now won five in a row and are 38-16, the best record in the American Association.
Facing Canaries shortstop Blake Schmit to start the ballgame, Veglahn’s third pitch of the night flew into the Saints bullpen for a lead off home run, his fourth of the season, giving the Canaries their first lead in the series at 1-0. Veglahn proceeded to strike out the next three and get out of the first inning without any further damage. He retired the Canaries in order in the second inning, and worked around a pair of two out singles in the third when Jake Taylor flew out to Nate Hanson.
In the fourth, the Canaries put a man at third base when David Bergin led off with a single, moved to second on a walk to Ryan Lashley and took third on a fly out to center by Aaron Owen. Veglahn cooly stuck out Ethan Chapman for the final out of the frame. The Saints starter worked around a one out single to Schmit in the fifth, getting a pair of pop ups by Darwin Perez and Bergin to close out his night. Veglahn tossed 5.0 innings allowing one run on five hits while walking two and striking out four to earn his second win, first at home.
Three Saints relievers tossed 4.0 scoreless innings, with Mike Strong pitching two hitless frames, Caleb Thielbar throwing a perfect eighth and Ryan Rodebaugh striking out three in the ninth.
Working from behind for the first time in the series, the Saints offense started rolling in the second thanks to Sam Maus. Alonzo Harris led the inning off with a single, extending his hitting streak to 11 games. He then stole second and third, his 25th and 26th steals of the season, the most in the American Association. Tony Thomas grounded out to short and Harris raced in to score, tying the game at one. Nate Hanson and Willie Argo then singled in back-to-back at bats, but Tony Caldwell went down on strikes for the second out. Hitting just .161 coming into the game, Maus hit a triple to the left-center field gap, driving in Hanson and Argo, giving the Saints a 3-1 lead.
Maus produced another run in the fourth inning, this time using his speed. With one out, Willie Argo doubled to left field and Tony Caldwell followed with a single, putting runners on the corners. Maus pushed a bunt up the first baseline beating it out for a single and scoring Argo to make it 4-1. Maus finished the night 2-3 with a walk and career tying high three RBI.
The Saints took away any chance of a comeback in the eighth inning. Working in relief of Canaries starter Joe Bircher, James Jones walked Hanson and Brady Burzynski to start the inning. Caldwell then singled to left to score Hanson, extending the lead to 5-1. With two outs Tanner Vavra roped a two-run single up the middle to make it 7-1. Harris capped the rally with a single to right field plating the eighth and final run of the ball game.
The Saints start a three game series with Fargo-Moorhead on Friday night at CHS Field at 7:05 PM. Set to the music of The Beach Boys, it’s an Xcel Energy Friday Night Fireworks show. Mark Hamburger (9-0, 2.59) takes the mound for the Saints against RedHawks LHP Will Soloman (2-1, 2.03). The game can be seen on the Saints Cable Network, cable access channels in the Twin Cities, and heard on Club 1220 KLBB.