The St. Paul Saints traveled to Sioux Falls on Monday night looking for their fourth straight victory over the Canaries, and thanks to five home runs and seven outstanding innings from Eddie Medina they would walk away with a 9-5 victory. Dante Bichette, Jr. homered twice in the contest and both he and Brady Shoemaker drove in three runs to lead the way. The victory coupled with a Gary Southshore loss put St. Paul ahead in the North Division by one full game.
After a scoreless first inning, the St. Paul Saints would grab the lead in the second. Zach Walters walked to start the inning and Dante Bichette, Jr. followed with a towering drive to right-center that cleared the wall for his eighth homer of the year. That made it 2-0.
An inning later, the Saints would take a commanding lead. Max Murphy was hit by a pitch to begin the inning and moved to second when Kyle Barrett walked. Miles Nordgren struck out Burt Reynolds, but Brady Shoemaker cleared the bases with a shot to right for his 12th homer of the year. That made it 5-0. Two batters later, Bichette connected for his second homer of the game and, suddenly, St. Paul was up 6-0.
St. Paul Saints starter Eddie Medina retired the first eight batters he faced, but saw that streak come to an end when Jordan Smith tripled with two outs in the bottom of the third. He would issue a walk to Dan Motl, but Motl was thrown out trying to steal to end the inning.
In the fourth, the Canaries would finally get on the board. Mitch Glasser started the inning with a double and moved to third when David Bergin reached on a passed ball after striking out. Glasser scored on a wild pitch and Bergin came home on a Jeff Malm single into right field to cut the deficit to four.
The long ball came back to haunt Sioux Falls in the top of the seventh. Will Lamarche came on and was greeted by a Justin O’Conner blast over the left field wall for his 13th homer of the season. After Joey Wong flew out, it was Max Murphy who would go deep, working the count full before hitting his sixth home run of the season.
The Saints would add a run one inning later. Shoemaker started the inning with a double and moved to third on a base hit by Walters. Two batters later, Nathaniel Maggio hit a sacrifice fly that brought home Shoemaker to extend the lead to seven.
Eddie Medina (9-4) came out after seven innings. The right-hander allowed 5-hits and 2-runs in earning his ninth win of the season and fourth in a row. Medina walked 2 and struck out 8. He has now allowed a total of six earned runs over his last four starts, a span of 26.1 innings pitched.
Mike Devine came in in the bottom of the eighth and an error would allow the Sioux Falls Canaries to get a run back. With one down, Jabari Henry doubled and moved to third when Malm reached on an error. A fielder’s choice brought in Henry to make the score 9-3.
In the ninth, Sioux Falls would get a rally started against Andrew Thome. Smith singled with one out and advanced to second on a walk to Motl. Thome struck out Glasser, but Bergin tripled, bringing in both runners to cut the deficit to four. That brought Henry to the plate, who struck out on three pitches to end the game.
Dante Bichette, Jr. and Brady Shoemaker both finished 2-4 with 2-runs and 3-RBI for the St. Paul Saints. David Bergin led Sioux Falls with 2-RBI.
These two teams will go at it again tomorrow night. First pitch is scheduled for 7:06.
By Robert Pannier