Costly Error Dooms Saints in ‘Home’ Opener, 5-3
ST. PAUL, MN SIOUX FALLS, SD (July 7, 2020) – The St. Paul Saints played their first home game of 2020. The uniforms looked familiar, their home whites with the “Saints” script across the chest, but the crowd was not there to cheer on the home team. Instead, they were cheering on the visitors, the Sioux Falls Canaries. The Saints stranded 12 base runners and lost 5-3 to the Canaries on Tuesday night at Sioux Falls Stadium, in their first home game in their new home away from home.
The Saints managed 12 hits, all singles, and left at least one runner on base in every inning. Of the three runs they scored only one came by way of a hit, an RBI single by Josh Allen in the fifth.
The Saints fell behind in the first when Andrew Ely led off the game with a single to center. He moved to third on a single by Alay Lago, and scored on a single by Damek Tomscha giving the Canaries a 1-0 lead.
The Saints tied it in the third when Max Murphy led off with a single off the ankle of pitcher Sam Bragg. He moved to third on a single by Justin Byrd and, two batters later, scored on a fielder’s choice groundout by Chris Chinea.
The Saints took their lone lead of the game in the fifth on a walk to Byrd, he stole second, and scored on Allen’s two-out single.
The Canaries took the lead right back in the sixth off of Saints starter Ryan Zimmerman. Lago led off with a double. He finished the night 4-5 with a double and a run scored. Two batters later Clint Coulter tied the game with a double to right. With two outs Logan Landon grounded one back up the middle into centerfield scoring Coulter giving the Canaries a 3-2 lead. Zimmerman went 5.2 innings allowing three runs on 10 hits while striking out four.
The Canaries added to their lead in the eighth against reliever Tanner Kiest. Coulter led off with a double to right and Mike Hart walked. Kiest then struck out Landon and got Ryan Brett to reach on a fielder’s choice as Hart was erased at second. KC Huth was hit by a pitch to load the bases bringing up Ely. He hit a ground ball to the left of second baseman Josh Allen, who made a diving play, but his throw to first was just wide and the error allowed two runs to score making it 5-2 Canaries.
The Saints got a run back in the bottom of the inning when Sebastian Zawada singled with one out. He moved to second on a wild pitch and took third on a two out infield single from Mikey Reynolds. A wild pitch scored Zawada cutting the deficit to two.
The Saints brought the winning run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth as, with two outs, Chinea singled and Allen was hit by a pitch. Chesny Young grounded out to third ending the game.
The same two teams meet in the second game of the three game series on Wednesday afternoon at 12:05 p.m. The Saints send RHP Matt Quintana (0-0, 0.00) to the mound against LHP Ty Culbreth (NR). The game can be heard on KFAN Plus, 96.7 FM.
By Sean Aronson, St. Paul Saints