Four Run First Propels Saints to 6-4 Victory over Canaries
SIOUX FALLS, SD - The 2018 playoff hopes for the St. Paul Saints may go through the Sioux Falls Canaries. Not because the Canaries are in a playoff position, but because the two teams meet 10 times over the next three weeks. The Saints jumped all over Canaries starter Dylan Thompson for four runs in the first inning and hung on for a 6-4 victory on Monday night at Sioux Falls Stadium. The win improves the Saints to a season best 10 games over .500, 42-32, and they are now just 1.0 game out of first place in the North by virtue of the loss by the Gary SouthShore Railcats. They are also just 0.5 game behind the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks for the second playoff spot in the division with 26 games remaining.
With one out in the first Kyle Barrett doubled to left-center. Burt Reynolds walked and Brady Shoemaker extended his hitting streak to 10 games with an RBI single to left making it 1-0. Zach Walters' RBI groundout gave the Saints a 2-0 lead. Dante Bichette Jr. made it 3-0 with an RBI single to left-center. Nathaniel Maggio singled to left and Bichette Jr. moved to third on the fielding error by left fielder Jabari Henry. Justin O'Conner's RBI single to left-center made it 4-0.
The Saints looked like they would cruise with Trevor Foss on the mound, but a former Saint, Jordan Smith, got the Canaries on the board in the fourth. Chris Grayson led off with a single to left and Foss walked Henry. With two outs Foss walked Mitch Glasser to load the bases. Smith then doubled to left scoring two and cutting the Saints lead in half to 4-2. Foss got another former Saint, Jeff Malm, to groundout to end the inning.
The Saints responded in the fifth when Barrett led off with a single. He moved to second on a groundout and advanced to third on Shoemaker's single to left. Walters made it 5-2 with a sacrifice fly to right.
The Canaries, however, responded in the home half of the fifth as Jordan Dean led off with a double to right. He moved to third on a groundout. Foss then got Grayson to hit a comebacker and Foss threw home to get Dean. Grayson would steal second and Henry made it 5-3 with an RBI double to left. Foss would go 5.1 innings allowing three runs on seven hits while walking four and striking out two.
The Saints scored their final run in the sixth as Maggio led off with a double to right. He finished the night 3-4 with a double and a run scored, a career tying high ninth three-hit game in his career. Maggio advanced to third on a fly out by Justin O'Conner. With two outs Maggio scored when reliever Ryan Fritze threw a wild pitch giving the Saints a 6-3 lead.
Reliever Mike Devine was spectacular in his 2.0 innings of relief not allowing a run on one hit while striking out three. He increased his scoreless streak to 22.0 consecutive innings.
Zack Jones came on to close it out in the ninth and after blowing away Smith, he gave up a solo homer to Malm, his first of the season. Jones would strike out Dean, but David Bergin reached on a slow dribbler down the third base line that just stayed hitting the bag. With the tying run at the plate Jones got Grayson to ground out to third to end the game.
The same two teams meet in game two of the three-game series on Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. at Sioux Falls Stadium. The Saints send RHP Jake Matthys (5-6, 4.12) to the mound against Canaries RHP Chad Martin (0-0, 9.90). The game can be heard on Alt 93.3 FM.
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American Association Stories from August 6, 2018
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