Saints Lose Playoff-Type Game, 4-2, to RailCats
ST. PAUL - The St. Paul Saints had multiple opportunities to tie the game, twice with two runners on in the fifth and sixth innings and the last with the bases loaded in the ninth, but came up short. The Saints fell to the Gary SouthShore RailCats 4-2 on Saturday night at CHS Field in front of 8,252. The loss drops the Saints to 44-35 and moves them into second place in the North Division and 1.0 game back of the RailCats. With Fargo-Moorhead's 2-1 loss to Sioux Falls, the Saints remain 1.5 games ahead of the RedHawks for the second playoff spot with 21 games remaining.
For the third night in a row, the Saints starter produced a quality start, this time from Trevor Foss. The right-hander worked 6.0 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on eight hits while walking two and striking out four. He has gone 5.1 innings or more in now all seven appearances (six starts) since joining the Saints on July 10.
The RailCats struck first and, for the first time in the series, took the lead in the first inning and it started with a one-out single from Tillman Pugh. Then, Randy Santiesteban hit a groundball that shortstop Joey Wong flipped to second base in an attempt to turn a double play. Second baseman Zach Walters, while straddling the bag, then dropped the ball on what appeared to be a transfer, and was ruled to have never touched second base, which put runners at first and second. The next batter, Collin Willis, singled home Pugh and the RailCats took a 1-0 lead.
However, the Saints responded with an offensive tactic that helped them win the first two games of the series, the home run. After Max Murphy led off the bottom of the first with a single, Kyle Barrett launched his fourth homer of the season, doubling his previous career high of two, to put the Saints ahead 2-1.
The RailCats tied it up at two in the sixth on a two-out looping single by Will Savage, which just got over the top of a leaping Wong.
Pugh broke the tie in the seventh, smashing an opposite field solo home run off of reliever Mike Devine, who took his third loss of the season.
Insurance came in the final at-bats for the Railcats with help from the Saints, after an error by third baseman Dante Bichette Jr. put Savage into scoring position and a Justin O'Conner passed ball finalized the 4-2 score. The unearned run was charged to the newest member of the Saints bullpen, Evan Mitchell, who after being signed earlier today, pitched 1.2 innings and struck out a pair.
Outside of the first, the offense was silent, leaving 10 men on base. The first of the three chances to come back began in the fifth, with one out and runners on first and second, but Burt Reynolds grounded into an inning-ending double play.
An inning later, the Saints got back-to-back singles with two outs, before RailCats reliever Scott Plaza ended the threat by getting O'Conner to groundout.
The final chance for the Saints came in the bottom of the ninth as Reynolds again stepped to the plate with the bases loaded. This time with two outs, and against closer Adam Quintana, Reynolds struck out swinging to end the game.
Other Saints highlights included Nathaniel Maggio, who went 3-4 and extended his hitting streak to 13 games. Bichette Jr. also hit safely for an 11th consecutive game.
The same two teams meet for the series finale on Sunday night at 5:05 p.m. at CHS Field. The Saints send RHP Jake Matthys (5-7, 4.71) to the mound against LHP Alex Gunn (7-5, 4.43). It is Jurassic Minnesota Pork. 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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American Association Stories from August 11, 2018
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