Chinea, Solter Propel Saints over Canaries, 14-3
ST. PAUL, MN (July 4, 2020) – The last time the St. Paul Saints won a game there was a euphoric celebration on the mound followed by a trophy celebration. On Saturday night the celebration was much more subdued, almost non-existent. There was no dog pile, no jumping up and down and, as a matter of fact, there was not even a handshake line because of social distancing rules. The Saints scored in seven of nine innings, got a stellar starting performance from Matt Solter, and got their first win of the season with a 14-3 thrashing of the Sioux Falls Canaries at Sioux Falls Stadium.
The Saints jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second and never looked back. John Silviano got it started with a solo blast to left, his first of the season, making it 1-0. Chris Chinea followed with a double and Josh Allen knocked him in with a single making it 2-0. With one out, Sebastian Zawada clubbed a two-run homer to left, his first of the season, making it 4-0. Zawada finished the night 2-3 with a double, home run, three RBI, and three runs scored.
From there the Saints capitalized on Canaries miscues scoring four straight unearned runs. With two outs in the fourth Chesny Young singled and Zawada doubled him to third. Connor Justus then hit a grounder than went under the glove of third baseman Ryan Long for a two-run error giving the Saints a 6-0 lead.
A lead off fielding error in the fifth by second baseman Alay Lago came around to score on a groundout by Chinea making it 7-0.
In the sixth Zawada and Justus drew back-to-back walks, moved up on a passed ball, and Zawada scored on a groundout by Byrd making it 8-0.
That was more than enough for the starter Solter, who was tremendous. After the leadoff batter reached on a fielding error by Josh Allen, Solter retired 10 straight before giving up his first hit of the game, a single to center by Alay Lago with two outs in the fourth.
Solter finally ran out of gas in the sixth when Jabari Henry reached on a two-out error by Allen at second. Lago followed with a single to right and Solter hit the next two batters to force in a run. Paul Voelker came out of the bullpen and struck out Long to end the inning. Solter went 5.2 innings allowing one unearned run on three hits while striking out five.
With the Saints up 10-1 in the eighth Byrd led off with a single and moved to second on a pinch-hit single by Troy Alexander. With one out, Chinea blasted a three-run homer to left, his first of the season, making it 13-1. Chinea went 3-5, finishing a triple shy of the cycle with four RBI and three runs scored.
The same two teams meet in the finale of the three-game series on Sunday evening at Sioux Falls Stadium at 5:05 p.m. The Saints send RHP Mike Devine (NR) to the mound against Canaries LHP Jake Zokan (NR). The game can be heard on KFAN Plus, 96.7 FM.
By Sean Aronson, St. Paul Saints