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 St. Paul Saints

Bullpen Dominates, Castillo's Late Home Run Propels Saints to 5-2 Win

April 11, 2024 - International League (IL)
St. Paul Saints News Release

ST. PAUL, MN - Just give the St. Paul Saints bullpen a lead and chances are they will hold it. The Saints offense did exactly that on Thursday night at CHS Field against the Iowa Cubs. After being held scoreless for five innings the bats came alive and the pitching was dominant as they struck out 15 Iowa Cubs for the second straight night in a 5-2 win in front of 3,028. The win improves the Saints to 6-5.

The I-Cubs grabbed the lead in the first. Pete Crow-Armstrong led off with a single to right-center. He moved to second on a wild pitch and stole third. Patrick Wisdom drew a walk and with one out, David Peralta made it 1-0 with an RBI single into right-center. Saints starter David Festa would last 2.2 innings allowing the one run on three hits while walking four and striking out four.

Jordan Balazovic was tremendous out of the Saints bullpen and kept the game at 1-0. He hurled 2.1 perfect innings while fanning four. He threw 29 pitches, 20 for strikes.

The game remained that way until the sixth when the Saints finally got on the board and took the lead. Jair Camargo led off with a single to left. With two outs Anthony Prato singled up the middle putting runners at the corners. That brought up Diego A. Castillo who destroyed a first pitch curveball and slugged it 417 feet away over the left-center field wall, his first of the season, giving the Saints a 3-1 lead.

Caleb Thielbar, making his second Major League rehab appearance, cruised through his first inning of relief with a perfect sixth recording a pair of strikeouts. In the seventh, Thielbar retired the first two batters he faced before giving up a solo homer to Ali Sánchez, his first of the season, cutting the Saints lead to 3-2. Thielbar finished the night by fanning Chicago Cubs number one prospect, Crow-Armstrong. Thielbar went 2.0 innings allowing one run on one hit while striking out four. He threw 28 pitches, 21 for strikes. The Saints got that run back plus one in the bottom of the inning. DaShawn Keirsey Jr. led off the inning with a 448-foot solo blast off the batter's eye in center, his second of the season, making it 4-2. Michael Helman followed with a single. Helman stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by the first baseman Patrick Wisdom. A sacrifice fly by Patrick Winkel scored Helman giving the Saints a 5-2 lead.

Scott Blewett tossed a perfect eighth, striking out the side. Hobie Harris finished off a perfect ninth for his third save of the season.

It's the second time in franchise history the Saints have struck out 15 in consecutive games. The only other time was May 22 and 23, 2021 vs. Indianapolis.

The same two teams meet in game four of a six-game series at CHS Field on Friday night at 6:37 p.m. The Saints send RHP Joe Gunkel (0-0, 7.71) to the mound and the I-Cubs are TBA. The game can be seen on the Saints Broadcast Network, cable access channels in and around the Twin Cities, MLB.TV, MiLB.TV, and the Bally Live app, and heard on KFAN Plus, 96.7 FM.

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International League Stories from April 11, 2024

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