Magic Number Shrinks to Four as Saints Win Ninth Straight 8-5 over Goldeyes
ST. PAUL, MN (August 9, 2015) - The first goal on the St. Paul Saints list of accomplishments this season is nearly checked off. They knocked off the Winnipeg Goldeyes 8-5 on Sunday evening at CHS Field in front of 7,787, their ninth straight victory, and reduced the magic number to win the North Division to four. With the win the Saints are now 20-0-2 in series play and improved to 57-16 on the season, four shy of tying the franchise record of 61 wins set in 2004, the last time they won a championship.
The evening didn't start on the right note as Saints starter Pedro Hernandez gave up a leadoff home run to Adam Heisler, his fourth of the season, to give the Goldeyes a 1-0 lead.
The Saints, however, are known for scoring first inning runs and they did so to tie the game. Alonzo Harris led off with a single to right, stole second, and with one out, the Saints loaded the bases with walks to Vinny DiFazio and Angelo Songco. Then a bizarre play happened as Mike Kvasnicka dropped a fly ball into right-center, but DiFazio never saw it and retreated back to second. Center fielder Reggie Abercrombie threw out DiFazio at third and instead of an RBI single for Kvaniscka he wound up with an RBI fielder's choice to tie the game at one.
In the second the bizarre nature continued when Abercrombie reached on catcher's interference. After Brad Boyer reached on a fielder's choice, he moved to second on a groundout and just beat the throw home on a two out single by Tillman Pugh to give the Goldeyes a 2-1 lead. Chris Robinson followed with an infield single off the chest of shortstop Anthony Phillips, but Pugh tried to score and Phillips threw him out at the plate.
In the bottom of the inning the Saints took the lead for good as Ryan Lashley led off with an infield single. With one out Phillips singled him to second. Harris reached on an error by Boyer at second to load the bases. A walk to Willie Argo tied the game at two and DiFazio gave the Saints a 4-2 lead with a two-run single. He now has 70 on the season, 10 shy of tying the single-season Saints record.
The Goldeyes scored a run for the third straight inning when Casio Grider hit a solo homer, his fourth of the season, to make it 4-3.
In the fourth the Saints put up three more runs as Phillips led off with a single to center. Harris moved him to second with a single. With one out DiFazio walked to load the bases and Songco made it 5-3 with a sacrifice fly, his 70th RBI of the season. Kvasnicka then tripled home two to give the Saints a 7-3 lead.
The Saints made it 8-3 in the fifth when Lashley doubled and, with one out, Phillips knocked him home. Phillips finished the night 3-4 with an RBI.
With the Saints leading by three and one on and two outs in the top of the eighth closer Ryan Rodebaugh came on for reliever Chris Peacock. He retired Chris Robinson on a fly out to end the threat. Rodebaugh then pitched a perfect ninth to pick up his second save in as many nights and his league leading 19th of the season.
The same two teams meet in the finale of the three game series Monday night at CHS Field at 7:05 p.m. The Saints send RHP Robert Coe (7-3, 2.90) to the mound against Goldeyes RHP Matt Jackson (6-6, 4.94). It is Math night presented by Mathnasium and the first 1,000 fans in attendance will receive a Saints team card set. The game can be seen on the Saints Cable Network, cable access channels in the Twin Cities are, heard on Club 1220 KLBB and in the ballpark on 97.9 FM.
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