Saints Prove to be Men of Steele, Hold on for 7-5 Victory
St. Paul, MN - The St. Paul Saints were looking for revenge, having been swept in their last meeting versus the Gary SouthShore RailCats. They broke that trend behind stellar starting pitching and early offense, hanging on for a 7-5 win on Thursday night at CHS Field in front of 8,309. The victory improves the Saints to 43-34, moving them into the second playoff position in the North Division and 1.0 game back of the RailCats.
It was starting pitcher Eddie Medina's night as he turned in his best performance of 2018. The right-hander tossed 7.0 innings of one-run ball on six hits while walking three. He tied a Saints season-high with 10 strikeouts. The mark was also the second highest in his career.
The lone run he allowed came in the fourth inning, but Medina evaded the RailCats biggest punch in the fifth. With the bases loaded and two outs, and .385 hitter Ronnie Mitchell at the plate, Medina induced a line drive that was flagged down by left fielder Burt Reynolds. The Saints ace stranded eight total RailCats on the evening, five in scoring position.
The ninth inning made things interesting for the Saints as the RailCats began the frame with two straight singles off of reliever Mike Devine. With one out, three-straight base runners reached on two walks and an RBI single. Prior to those runs, Devine worked 1.0 scoreless inning, finalizing his career-high streak at 23.0. Andrew Thome would enter and, after allowing a two-run single that brought the go-ahead run to the plate, got Wilfredo Giminez to fly out and struck out Reggie Wilson to register his third save of the season.
It was a good thing the Saints had an early lead to work with as the offense mustered seven runs, more than the total (six) they scored in their entire previous series versus Gary. All seven runs came against RailCats starter Keaton Steele, who entered the night with a 22.1 scoreless innings streak.
The scoring began in the second inning as Brady Shoemaker cranked a solo home run out to right-center field. It was his eighth long ball of the season, second in as many games, and extended his hitting streak to a season-high 13 games. Then, with one out, Dante Bichette Jr. singled followed by a Nathaniel Maggio walk. The next two batters, Justin O'Conner and Joey Wong, hit back-to-back singles to bring the two runners' home. The Saints would get help to conclude the rally as RailCats shortstop Andy De Jesus tried to turn a double play and instead threw the ball past the first baseman Garrett Copeland, allowing the final run to cross and make it 4-0.
St. Paul got two more in the fifth inning on Max Murphy's fourth home run of the season, a two-run right-center field blast, that provided the difference and a 6-1 lead.
Murphy gave the Saints insurance in the sixth and collected his third RBI of the game on a sacrifice fly that scored Bichette Jr.
Nathaniel Maggio extended his career-high hitting streak to 11 games and Bichette Jr. hit safely for a ninth game in a row.
The same two teams meet for game two of four on Friday night at 7:05 p.m. at CHS Field. The Saints send LHP Chris Nunn (4-2, 3.06) to the mound against LHP Jeff McKenzie (4-8, 4.33). It is Securian Financial Night with another Xcel Energy Friday Night Fireworks show. 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 9, 2018
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