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 St. Paul Saints

Saints' Late Comeback Falls Just Short in 6-5 Loss to Indianapolis

April 18, 2024 - International League (IL)
St. Paul Saints News Release

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - The night started with the St. Paul Saints facing one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, Paul Skenes, and it ended with them nearly coming back and winning the game. Matt Wallner collected two hits and four RBI in his return to the Saints, but it wasn't enough in a 6-5 loss to the Indianapolis Indians on Thursday night at Victory Field. The loss drops the Saints to 7-10.

Skenes was as advertised. He struck out the side in the first and fanned the first six outs of the game. Yunior Severino became just the fourth player in the International League to get a hit off Skenes this season when he doubled to right-center with one out in the second.

In the third, Tanner Morris reached on a two base throwing error by the third baseman Malcolm Nuñez, moved to third on a groundout and with two outs Max Kepler walked. Skenes struck out DaShawn Keirsey Jr. looking to end the inning.

Skenes would face two batters in the fourth getting Matt Wallner to ground out to second and then walking Severino. Skenes went 3.1 shutout innings giving up one hits while walking two and striking out a career-tying high eight. He threw 65 pitches, 37 for strikes. His fastball averaged 100.5 miles per hour and threw 34 pitches at triple digits including his fastest of the night at 102.1 miles per hour.

The Indians got on the board in the first, but it would have been more if not for a spectacular play by center the fielder Keirsey Jr. Nick Gonzales led off the inning with a walk. He took third on a single to right by Ji Hwan Bae. With one out, Jake Lamb drove a ball to center that Keirsey Jr. lept up and made the catch as he crashed into the wall taking extra bases away from Lamb. Gonzales tagged and scored from third giving the Indians a 1-0 lead.

In the fourth, the Indians added on a second run. With one out and Liover Peguero on at first after a fielder's choice, Nuñez doubled to left scoring Peguero increasing the lead to 2-0.

The lead extended in the fifth as the Indians plated two more. With one out Gonzalez singled off the glove of a diving Morris at third. Bae followed with a single to center putting runners at the corners. Yasmani Grandal's groundout to second scored Gonzalez increasing the lead to 3-0. Lamb made it 4-0 with an RBI single into right-center.

The Saints ended an 18-inning scoreless streak in the seventh as they loaded the bases. Morris led off the inning with a walk. With two outs Max Kepler singled to center and DaShawn Keirsey Jr. walked to load the bases. Matt Wallner then reached on an infield single to short scoring Morris cutting the deficit to 4-1. Kepler finished his first rehab game 1-3 with a walk.

An error proved costly in the bottom of the eighth that led to a run for the Indians. With one out Lamb singled to right-center. That was followed by a fielding error by the third baseman Morris on a grounder by Peguero that put runner at first and second. Nuñez then singled off the second base bag into centerfield allowing Lamb to score making it 5-1. With two outs Gilberto Celestino singled to right scoring Peguero, increasing the lead to 6-1.

How costly was the error in the eighth? The Saints made it interesting in the ninth. They loaded the bases with the first three batters as Diego Castillo reached on an infield single to third, Anthony Prato singled to right, and Yoyner Fajardo reached on catcher's interference. Keirsey Jr. made it 6-2 with a sacrifice fly to center. Wallner then crushed a 438-foot three-run homer to center, his first of the season, getting the Saints to within 6-5. He finished the night 2-5 with a home run, four RBI, and a run scored. The next two batters, however, couldn't get the job done and the Saints lost for the third straight game.

The same two teams meet in game four of a six-game series at Victory Field on Friday night at 6:05 p.m. (CT). The Saints send RHP Simeon Woods Richardson (0-1, 7.56) to the mound and the Indians are TBA. The game can be heard on KFAN Plus, 96.7 FM.

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International League Stories from April 18, 2024

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