Saints Too Little, Too Late, Fall to Dogs 6-3
ST. PAUL, MN - The St. Paul Saints got the starting pitching performance they wanted, but had no offense to back it up. Only mustering two hits through the first 6.0 innings, the Saints comeback attempt was cut short, losing 6-3 to the Chicago Dogs on Thursday night, at CHS Field, in front of 7,247. The loss drops the Saints to 57-39 and, with a Gary SouthShore RailCats victory, shrinks the division lead to 1.0 game, with four to go.
Saints starter Ryan Zimmerman took the loss despite pitching 5.0 strong innings, allowing two unearned runs on two hits, while walking three and tying a season-high with seven strikeouts. Both of the runs came in his first and final frames.
Kenny Wilson led off the game with a single for the Dogs, advancing to third on an errant pickoff attempt by Zimmerman. Treysen Vavra would later bring him home on a sacrifice fly to give the Dogs a 1-0 lead.
The second unearned run came in the fifth after Joe Benson led off with a double. Stephen Perez laid down a sacrifice bunt, but third baseman Dante Bichette Jr. threw the ball wide of first and into foul territory and allowed Benson to score and make it 2-0.
After Saints reliever Andrew Thome entered in the sixth, trouble arose with two outs. Thome walked two batters and then Perez doubled down the right field line, making it 4-0.
Vavra would extend the lead in the seventh with a two-out, two-run home run off of Thome, giving the Dogs their largest lead of the night, 6-0.
The Saints only runs came in the bottom of the inning, also with two outs. Nathaniel Maggio singled and then after Dan Motl walked, Aaron Gretz hit an infield single to load the bases. Trevor Sealey, making his first start at CHS Field, drove in both Maggio and Motl with a single to right-center, cutting the deficit to 6-2. The next batter, Kyle Barrett, then grounded a ball to third and Perez threw it up the first base line. Gretz scored on the error and the Saints trailed 6-3. Barrett went 2-4, extending his hitting streak to 23 games, fourth-best in franchise history and second longest in the American Association this season, trailing teammate Bichette Jr.'s 24-game hit streak.
Unfortunately, that is as close as they got because the Dogs bullpen shutout the Saints in the eighth and the ninth.
The same two teams meet Friday evening at CHS Field for the series finale at 7:05 p.m. The Saints send RHP Eddie Medina (9-5, 2.84) to the mound against Dogs RHP Josh Goosen-Brown (6-8, 5.01). It is Delta Day, presented by Delta Airlines. 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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