The St. Paul Saints have been looking for an additional starter or two to help solidify their rotation and may have just found it, as Jake Matthys came out of the bullpen to toss five outstanding innings to lead the Saints to a 4-1 victory over the Kansas City T-Bones. Dante Bichette, Jr. drove in three and the St. Paul bullpen provided four scoreless innings of relief to preserve the victory.
After neither team could plate a run in the first two frames, the St. Paul Saints took the lead in the third against Kansas City starter Pascquale Mazzoccoli. Justin O’Conner started the inning with a base hit, and Dante Bichette, Jr. followed with his third homer of the year to make it 2-0. Anthony Phillips grounded a single to left for a base hit and moved to second on a walk to Max Murphy. A sacrifice moved both runners into scoring position, and a wild pitch brought Phillips home. This inning could have easily got out of control, but Mazzoccoli struck out Burt Reynolds before getting Zach Walters to fly out to end the inning.
Jake Matthys took the ball to start for the Saints and he was brilliant. He gave up a hit in the first and a walk in the second, but then retired nine in a row. That streak came to an end when former Saint Noah Perio, Jr. doubled with one out in the fifth. He scored on a two out double by Adrian Nieto to cut the T-Bones deficit to two.
Jake Matthys (4-3) came out after 5-innings. He allowed 3-hits, a walk, and one earned run. He struck out 3.
In the sixth, the St. Paul Saints added an insurance run. Brady Shoemaker started the inning by reaching on a walk and moved to second on a single by Walters. Two batters later, O’Conner walked to load the bases, and Shoemaker came home on a sacrifice fly by Bichette. That made it 4-1.
From there, the Saints bullpen took over. Ryan Schlosser came on in the sixth and retired all three batters in the inning. He came out for the seventh and issued a walk to Nick Torres before Colin Walsh doubled to put two runners into scoring position with no one out. Ken Frosh came out and got Perio to pop out, bringing another call to the bullpen. In came Mike Devine, who got a fielder’s choice that gunned Torres at the plate, before Taylor Featherston was thrown out trying to steal second to end the inning.
Devine came out for the eighth, and found himself in some trouble when he gave up a walk and a single to start the frame, but then struck out the next two hitters before getting a fly out to end the inning. Devine went 1.2-innings, allowing a hit and a walk while striking out 2.
Zach Jones took over in the ninth looking to earn his third save of the season. He retired the T-Bones in order to end the game. The 4-1 victory was the fifth straight for the St. Paul Saints.
Dante Bichette, Jr. was 2-3 with a run and 3-RBI for the Saints. No Kansas City hitter had more than one hit in the game.
The same two teams meet in game three of the four game series on Saturday nigh at CommunityAmerica Ballpark at 7:05 p.m. The Saints send RHP Ryan Zimmerman (1-0, 3.72) to the mound against T-Bones RHP Astin Barrett (6-2, 5.27).
By Robert Pannier