Goldeyes Bullpen Shuts Down Saints, Winnipeg Wins 5-4
Duke Von Schamann lived dangerously for the first three innings Sunday night, allowing 10-hits to the St. Paul Saints, but only giving up four-runs. He left with the score tied, and then watched as the Winnipeg Goldeyes bullpen dominated the last six innings of the game. That enabled Maikol Gonzalez to draw a bases loaded walk in the top of the ninth inning, which would be the game winner as the Goldeyes won 5-4. That forced a Game 5 in the American Association playoff series, which will be played Monday night in St. Paul.
The Saints got off to a good start when they took the lead in the bottom of the first. Kody Knaus retired the Goldeyes in order in the top half, and Von Schamann looked like he would do the same in the bottom when he retired the first two batters of the inning. However, Tony Thomas singled to keep the inning going, and David Bergin followed with a single to left that moved Thomas to third. Nate Hanson then went the other way, looping a ball down the right field line that bounced into the stands for a ground rule double. That was a bad break, because Bergin would have easily scored, but the ground rule double forced him back to third. Angelo Songco struck out and the Saints led 1-0.
In the second, St. Paul would put runners at the corners with one out, but Von Schamann would wiggle out of it, getting a strike out and a fly ball to end the threat. In the third, back-to-back singles by Hanson and Songco with two outs would give another opportunity to get a run, but Vinny DiFazio grounded out to end the inning and keep it 1-0.
Missed opportunities were haunting the Saints and that came back to bite them in the fourth. Knaus had been brilliant through the first three-innings, but the Goldeyes would take the lead in the fourth. Gonzalez started the inning by singling to right field. He then stole second before Willie Cabrera walked. Reggie Abercrombie then blooped a base hit into center that scored Gonzalez to tie the game. Knaus then came too far inside on Josh Romanski, hitting him in the shoulder, and David Rohm then hit into a double-play that scored Cabrera. That gave Winnipeg a 2-1 lead with Abercrombie at third. On a 1-0 pitch to Casio Grider, Abercrombie stole home to extend the lead to two. Grider then followed with a shot over the left-center field wall to make it 4-1.
It was a big rally for the Goldeyes, but the Saints would do what they have done all season – respond. In the bottom of the fourth, Tanner Vavra led off with a ball down the right field line that he legged out for a triple. Breland Almadova followed with a ball down the right field line that bounced into the stands for a ground rule double. Alonzo Harris followed with a single to put runners at the corners with no one out. On a 3-1 pitch to Ryan Cavan, Harris went for second, successfully making it on the stolen base. When the throw went to second, Almadova stole home and it was 4-3. Cavan then walked and that would be it for Von Schamann.
Edwin Carl came in to relieve and struck out Tony Thomas. Harris and Cavan would then move up on the stolen bases, and Harris scored on a sacrifice fly by Hanson. That tied the game at four.
The first three-innings had produced eight-runs, but that would be all that would be all the scoring for quite a while, as both teams’ bullpens looked sharp. None more so than the two left-handers, Eric Eadington and Cody Wheeler. Eadington finished out the fourth for the Goldeyes, keeping the game tied. He would then toss two additional innings, allowing two-walks, while striking out three. Wheeler came on for the Saints in the fifth and went 3.2-innings, allowing a lone hit while striking out 4.
Victor Capellan would take over Winnipeg in the seventh. He struck out five of the Saints batters he faced, keeping the game tied at 4.
In the ninth, Ryan Rodebaugh came on for the Saints. Rohm started the inning with a ground ball to third that he narrowly beat out for a single. Two batters later, Wes Darvill singled to center and a ground out moved both runners into scoring position with two outs. Adam Heisler was intentionally walked, loading the bases for Gonzalez. The Winnipeg shortstop quickly got ahead 2-0, but Rodebaugh battled back to make it 2-2. Gonzalez then fouled off a pitch and worked the count full before laying off a very tough pitch that was just a bit low. The walk drove Rohm home to give the Goldeyes the lead.
Winston Abreu came on in the ninth. Bergin singled with one out, but Abreu retired the final two batters. That gave the Winnipeg Goldeyes the 5-4 victory and forced a Game 5, which will be Monday night.
Rohm was 3-4 with a run scored. Gonzalez was 1-4 with a run, an RBI, and a walk. Hanson had 3-hits and 2-RBI for the Saints. Vavra, Bergin, and Almadova each had 2-hits.
The Game 5 matchup will be a rematch of Game 1. Mark Hamburger, who tossed eight shutout innings in Game 1, will go for the St. Paul Saints. Mikey O’Brien will start for Winnipeg. Game time is 7:05.
By Robert Pannier