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Saints Half a Step from Ninth Inning Comeback, Lose 7-6 to Saltdogs

July 6, 2018 - American Association (AA) - St. Paul Saints News Release

ST. PAUL, MN - All the magic the St. Paul Saints have on the road has been non-existent at home. They attempted a ninth inning comeback for the second time in three games, but came up a half step short in a 7-6 loss to the Lincoln Saltdogs on Friday night at CHS Field in front of 8,632. The loss is the fifth in a row at home, tied for the seventh longest streak in franchise history, and their second longest at CHS Field. The loss drops the Saints to 24-22.

With the Saints trailing 7-4 in the ninth, and facing the Saltdogs closer Jose Jose, Burt Reynolds led off with a single to center. Brady Shoemaker dropped a fly ball single to right putting runners at first and second. Dante Bichette Jr. hit a slow grounder to second that Cesar Valera fielded and fired to second. Christian Ibarra touched second, but lost the ball on the transfer putting runners at the corners with one out. After Justin O'Conner popped out for the second out of the inning, Matt Snyder hit a grounder wide of first. Nathaniel Maggio fielded it, but his throw to first tipped off the glove of the pitcher allowing Reynolds to score and sending Bichette Jr. to third making it 7-5. Anthony Phillips then hit a rocket on one hop to short that Ibarra fielded on his knees with a backhanded stop, but his throw to second hit a sliding pinch runner Luke Pettersen. Bichette Jr. scored and Pettersen went to third cutting the deficit to one. Kyle Barrett then hit a weak tapper to the third base side of the mound that Jose fielded and fired to first. The throw was high, but the 6'5 Maggio reached up, kept his foot on the bag and the throw beat Barrett by a half step to end the game.

The Saints jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first when Max Murphy led off with a single and Noah Perio Jr. doubled him home.

The lead didn't last long as the Saltdogs put up two in the second when Cesar Valera singled with one out. With two outs Dashenko Rickardo walked and Ibarra was hit by a pitch to load the bases. T.J. Bennett drove home a pair with a single giving the Saltdogs a 2-1 lead.

In the bottom of the second Justin O'Conner tied it with a solo homer to left, his ninth of the season.

In the sixth the Saltdogs took a 4-2 lead as Brandon Jacobs singled with one out. With two outs Ibarra doubled him home to make it 3-2 Saltdogs. Starter Eddie Medina departed for left-handed reliever Ken Frosch. He walked the lefty Bennett and Beck Wheeler took over for Frosch. Wheeler gave up an RBI single to Curt Smith making it 4-2.

The Saints tied it in the bottom of the inning when Phillips and Barrett walked with one out. Murphy doubled them both home tying the game at four.

In the eighth, however, the Saltdogs took the lead for good against reliever Andrew Thome. With one out Bennett singled to left and Smith followed with a single to left. With two outs Maggio hit a ground ball to the left of Perio Jr. at second. He made a diving stop to keep the ball in the infield and preventing a run from scoring. The next hitter, however, Randolph Oduber, cleared the bases with a double down the third base line making it 7-4 Saltdogs.

The same two teams meet in the second game of the three-game series on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. The Saints send LHP Chris Nunn (0-1, 2.08) to the mound against Saltdogs RHP Mike Tamburino (4-2, 2.80). It's Saturdays are for the Boys. The game can be seen on the Saints Cable Network, cable access channels in and around the Twin Cities, and heard on Alt 93.3 FM.

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