May 19, 2017 - American Association (AA) - St. Paul Saints
ST. PAUL, MN (May 18, 2017) - The St. Paul Saints know when they hand the ball to Mark Hamburger he's going deep into ballgames. He tossed 8.1 superb innings plus the big bats in the heart of the lineup flexed their muscles as the St. Paul Saints took down the Gary SouthShore Railcats 5-2 on Opening Night at CHS Field in front of 8,294 on Thursday night.
The Saints and Railcats were locked in a pitcher duel for five innings as Hamburger and Charle Rosario matched each other pitch for pitch. Hamburger retired the first eight men he faced before giving up a bunt single to Chase Harris with two outs in the third.
In the fourth the Railcats put two men on with a one out single by Frank Martinez and a two out single from Jaime Del Valle, but Hamburger got out of the inning when Kris Goodman grounded into an inning ending fielder's choice.
Rosario was even better allowing a Nate Hanson two out double in the first and then retired the next 14 hitters he faced. In the bottom of the sixth, however, Jon Kristoffersen singled to right-center to end the string. Danny Oh followed with a lined single to center to put runners at first and second. After With two outs and runners at second and third Hanson then stepped to the plate and drilled a 1-0 changeup over the left field wall for a three-run homer, his first of the season, to give the Saints a 3-0 lead. Hanson finished the night 2-4 with a double, home run and three RBI. Brady Shoemaker followed that with a single to left and Tony Thomas drilled a two-run homer to left-center, his first of the season, to make it 5-0.
Hamburger cruised through the seventh and eighth and was vying for his 13th complete game in 42 Saints starts. In the ninth, however, Anthony Cheky Jr. led off with a single to left-center. After Hamburger struck out Martinez, Alex Crosby hit a nubber towards the third base side. Hamburger raced after it, slid on the grass, picked up the ball and fired an errant throw to first that put runners at second and third. Del Valle then came through with a two-run single to cut the Saints lead to three. Hamburger departed, but his former high school teammate at Mounds View High, Seth Rosin, came on and finished it off by striking out the final two hitters of the night to earn the save. Hamburger went 8.1 innings allowing two unearned runs on seven hits while striking out eight.
The same two teams play Friday night at CHS Field at 7:05 p.m. The Saints send LHP Eric Veglahn (NR) to the mound against Railcats LHP Alex Gunn (NR). It is Harley Night presented by St. Paul & Wild Prairie Harley-Davidson plus Xcel Energy Friday Night Fireworks with the music of Punk Rock. The game can be seen on the Saints Cable Network, cable access channels in and around the Twin Cities, and heard on Club 1220 KLBB.