Murphy Sets Single-Season Hits Record as Saints Down Dogs, 2-1
ST. PAUL, MN - Entering the night, Max Murphy had 128 hits in 2018, tied with Adam Olow (2004) for most in a single-season in franchise history. In his final at-bat of the evening, Murphy lined a single to right-center and cemented his name in the St. Paul Saints record books. The Saints would go on to defeat the Chicago Dogs, 2-1, on Wednesday night at CHS Field in front of 7,142. They improved to 57-38 and maintain a 2.0 game lead over the Gary SouthShore RailCats for the division lead, with five to play.
The victory on Wednesday was the Saints 20th in the month of August, tying the all-time record for most wins in a single month. It is now the winningest month of August in franchise history, breaking the previous mark of 19 from the historic 74-win season in 2015.
A pitcher's duel all night long, it was Saints starter Chris Nunn who came out on top. The left-hander tossed 6.0 innings allowing one run on seven hits while striking out four and walking none. He registered his seventh win of the season, getting all of the offensive support in the second inning.
Zach Walters led off the frame with a check swing ground ball that tight-roped its way up the third base foul line for a leadoff single. Then, with two outs, Dan Motl walked and a wild pitch put runners at second and third. Joey Wong then sent a soft line drive up the middle that tipped off of the glove of second baseman Edwin Arroyo. The ball deflected into shallow center, allowing both Walters and Motl to score, giving the Saints a 2-0 lead.
The Dogs would respond with their lone run a half inning later. They put together four consecutive hits off of Nunn to begin the third, completed by an RBI single from Joe Benson to make it 2-1. Then, with one out and the bases loaded, Tony Roselli sent a pop up to first baseman Brady Shoemaker. After Roselli was called out on the infield fly rule, Shoemaker unintentionally dropped the ball and the runner on third, Kenny Wilson, took off towards home. Shoemaker picked up the ball and relayed it to catcher Justin O'Conner, who then fired it to third baseman Dante Bichette Jr., who tagged out Wilson and completed the inning-ending double play.
That would be the last chance for the Dogs, as the combination of Mike Devine and Zack Jones shut them out over the final 3.0 innings. Devine retired all six batters he faced and struck out one, and Jones faced the minimum in the ninth thanks, in part, to a stellar throw from O'Conner to pickoff Stephen Perez to end the game. Jones collected his 10th save in as many opportunities.
Kyle Barrett extended his hitting streak to 22 games, tied for the fourth longest in franchise history. Walters went 3-4, with a double and a run scored.
The same two teams meet Thursday evening at CHS Field for game two of the three-game series at 7:05 p.m. The Saints send RHP Ryan Zimmerman (1-1, 7.65) to the mound against Dogs RHP Wes Torrez (0-1, 5.00). It is the 20th year celebration of Google on a Take Me Back Tuesday, presented by Valleyfair. The game can be seen on the Saints Cable Network, cable access channels in and around the Twin Cities area, and heard on Alt 93.3 FM.
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American Association Stories from August 30, 2018
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