Second Half Starts Same As First, Saints Win 3-1ST. PAUL, MN July 15, 2015
SECOND HALF STARTS SAME AS FIRST, SAITNS WIN 3-1
SIOUX FALLS, SD (July 15, 2015) – If American Association teams were hoping the second 50 games of the season would be different for the St. Paul Saints then they failed to get their wish on Wednesday night. The Saints got a tremendous pitching performance from Jeff Shields, a four-hit night from Alonzo Harris and hung on for a 3-1 victory over the Sioux Falls Canaries at Sioux Falls Stadium. The win raised the Saints record to 39-12 and they now have a 16.5 lead in the North Division.
One of only four pitchers in the American Association still undefeated, Shields pitched like a man who wanted to keep it that way. His lone blemish came in the first when he gave up three consecutive two-out singles to David Bergin, Brian Humphries and RJ Perucki, the latter scoring a run to give the Canaries a 1-0 lead.
After that Shields was on his game. He gave up a two out double to Bergin in the third, but got Humphries to ground out to first to end the inning.
In the seventh, with the Saints up two, Shields gave up a one out double to Jake Luce. With two outs he walked Chris Grayson, but got Jason Repko to hit into a fielder’s choice to third. Shields went 7.0 innings allowing one run on six hits while walking two and striking out four while improving to 8-0.
The Saints gave him just enough offense to work with although they pounded out 12 hits. In the third Harris collected the second of his four hits with a single to right. He moved to second on a single by Willie Argo. With two outs Ian Gac roped a double that scored Harris to tie the game at one, but Argo was thrown out trying to score.
In the fourth Mike Kvasnicka led off by reaching on a throwing error by third baseman RJ Perucki. With one out Anthony Phillips singled Kvasnicka to second. After a fielder’s choice put runners at the corners, Harris knocked home Kvasnicka with a single to give the Saints a 2-1 lead.
In the sixth Harris came through again as Phillips and Dan Kaczrowski reached on one out back-to-back singles. Harris followed with an RBI single to give the Saints a two run cushion. He finished 4-5 with two RBI and a run scored.
The Saints bullpen walked the tightrope to finish the game off. In the eighth Mike Zouzalik gave up a two out single to Perucki and that was followed by a double by Richard Stock that put runners at second and third. Zouzalik got Michael Broad to hit a soft liner to Phillips at short to end the inning.
In the ninth Ryan Rodebaugh gave up a leadoff single to Luce. With one out he walked Grayson. Repko then hit a shallow fly ball to right that Kvasnicka charged, but had the ball hit the heel of his glove and fall to the ground. Kvasnicka had the presence of mind to pick up the ball and throw to second just getting Grayson. Rodebaugh struck out Bergin to end the game and pick up his league tying 13th save of the season.
The same two teams meet Thursday night at Sioux Falls Stadium at 7:05 p.m. The Saints send LHP Pedro Hernandez (5-2, 3.19) to the mound against RHP Stephen Bougher (2-1, 4.59). The game can be heard on Club 1220 KLBB.