August 8, 2017 - American Association (AA) - St. Paul Saints
GARY, IN- The St. Paul Saints looked like they had lost the game in the bottom of the ninth, yet they were the ones celebrating in the 12th. An appeal play in the ninth extended the game as the Gary SouthShore Railcats were celebrating and the Saints would win 2-1 in 12 innings on Monday night at U.S. Steel Yard. The win improved the Saints to 40-33 and remained 2.5 games out of the Wild Card and 3.5 games out of the North Division.
In the ninth, with the score tied at one, Saints reliever Ken Frosch gave up a leadoff triple to Colin Willis. The Saints then intentionally walked Randy Santiesteban and Frank Martinez to load the bases. Vinny Nittoli came out of the bullpen to face Wilfredo Gimenez. He hit a fly ball the shallow center that Kes Carter caught. Willis raced home and the Railcats poured out of their dugout to celebrate. Saints manager George Tsamis raced out of the Saints dugout and implored his team to appeal at third. They did and third base umpire Mike Jarboe ruled Willis had left too early for a double play. Nittoli would get Ryan Fitzgerald to pop out to end the inning.
The Saints, who did not collect a hit from one out in the sixth until one out in the 11th, finally broke through in the 12th. Kes Carter led off with a single to right. Mitch Delfino sacrificed him to second. Tanner Lubach then hit a line drive up the middle, but Carter had to hold to make sure the shortstop Fitzgerald didn't catch it, so he advanced to third. Lubach finished the night 3-5. With the corners in anticipating a bunt from Breland Almadova, he hit a ground ball just past a diving Alex Crosby at first. Carter raced home to score and Almadova reached on an infield single as the Saints took their first lead of the game.
In the bottom of the 12th Brandon Peterson retired the side in order to pick up his third win of the season.
The Saints pitching staff was magnificent all night long. Jason Hoppe, getting just his second start of the season, hurled 6.1 innings allowing one run on four hits while walking two and striking out two. He retired the order in four of the six full innings he pitched. The lone run he gave up came in the third when Andy DeJesus reached on a one out infield single. Chase Harris walked to put runners on first and second. Crosby hit a slow grounder to second and the Saints could only get the force out at second. That allowed Reggie Wilson to make it 1-0 with a slow ground ball between short and third.
The Saints tied it in the fifth when Mitch Delfino led off with a single. Lubach moved him to second with a single to left. Almadova's fielder's choice put runners at the corners with one out. The Saints used a little speed as Almadova stole second and the throw down to second went into shallow center allowing Delfino to score tying the game at one.
The Saints bullpen worked 5.2 shutout innings allowing two hits while striking out five. Frosch (1.2 IP), Nittoli (1.1 IP), Chandler Hawkins (0.2 IP) and Peterson (2.0 IP) did the job when they were called upon.
Nate Hanson extended his hitting streak to 18 games going 2-5.
The same two teams meet Tuesday night at U.S. Steel Yard in game two of the three game series. The Saints are TBA while the Railcats send LHP Jeff McKenzie (1-2, 4.36) to the mound. The game can be heard on Club 1220 KLBB.