Shields Makes It A Three-Headed Monster, Becomes Third Saints Pitcher To 10 Wins In 9-6 VictoryST. PAUL, MN August 2, 2015
SHIELDS MAKES IT A THREE-HEADED MONSTER, BECOMES THIRD SAINTS PITCHER TO 10 WINS IN 9-6 VICTORY
FARGO, ND (August 2, 2015) – Prior to Saturday night the St. Paul Saints had never had two pitchers reach 10 wins in one season. They now have three after Jeff Shields dominated for 7.0 innings and the Saints hung on for a 9-6 victory over the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks Sunday evening at Newman Outdoor Field. By winning the first two games of the series the Saints are now 18-0-2 in series play, improved to 51-16 and increased their lead in the North to 19.5 games.
The Saints offense got Shields all the run support he needed in the first four innings off of RedHawks starter Brandon Mann. In the first Alonzo Harris led off with a walk and Willie Argo singled him to second. Vinny DiFazio then homered to right field, his 12th of the season, giving the Saints a 3-0 lead.
In the second Dan Kaczrowski extended his career high hit streak to 16 with a single to left. It’s the longest hitting streak of the season for a Saints player and tied for the ninth longest in Saints history. With one out Argo walked and DiFazio was hit by a pitch. Angelo Songco then roped a bases clearing double to right-center to make it 6-0.
In the third Joey Paciorek hit a fly ball to right-center that the wind carried away from center fielder Drew Muren and fell in for a double. With two outs Harris singled home Paciorek to make it 7-0.
The Saints made it 8-0 in the fourth when Songco singled, with one out Ryan Lashley walked and Paciorek’s single scored Songco. Songco finished the night 4-5 with two doubles, three RBI and a run scored. Mann lasted 6.1 innings and the Saints tagged him for nine runs on 13 hits while walking six and striking out seven and threw 143 pitches. He fell to 0-3 with an 8.52 ERA against the Saints this season.
Shields did the rest using his sinking fastball to get ground ball outs. He retired eight straight from the last out of the third until one out in the sixth when he ran into his only bit of trouble. With one out Shields walked Zach Penprase and Chad Mozingo singled him to third. An RBI groundout by Joe Bonfe made it 8-1 and Joe Dunnigan’s RBI single made it 8-2. Shields went 7.0 innings allowing two runs on six hits while walking one and striking out five, improving to 10-1 and lowering his ERA to 3.04. The 10 wins are a career high for Shields. He joined Dustin Crenshaw (11) and Kramer Sneed (10) with 10 wins for the Saints this season.
The Saints bullpen was shaky, however, as they gave up four runs in the final two innings. With the Saints up 9-2 in the eighth Mike Zouzalik, pitching for the first time in 11 days after a seven day stint on the DL, gave up a one out single to Penprase in the eighth. Mozingo hit a two-run homer to right-center, his third of the season, to make it 9-4.
In the ninth Drew Gay came in to finish it off, but Ryan Pineda single to lead things off. Joe Staley singled him to third. After Taylor Oldham was retired on a tapper in front of the plate, Tyler Peterson singled home Pineda to make it 9-5. Gay departed for closer Ryan Rodebaugh. The first batter he faced, Connor Andrus, hit a sinking fly ball to right-center that Mike Kvasnicka came out of nowhere to make a diving catch for the second out as Staley tagged and scored from third. Rodebaugh picked up his 17th save by getting Penprase to ground out to third to end the game.
The same two teams meet in the finale of the series Monday night at 7:02 p.m. The Saints send LHP Pedro Hernandez (6-2, 3.99) to the mound against RedHawks RHP Tyler Herron (4-4, 3.86). The game can be heard on Club 1220 KLBB.