The St. Paul Saints continue to roll on the road, downing the Sioux City Explorers 6-1. The victory was the fifth out of the first six in their 10 game road trip, helping to move St. Paul to 2.5 games ahead of the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks in the North Division. Jake Matthys was dominant, allowing just one run in eight innings of work against the team with the best record in the American Association. Max Murphy and Kyle Barrett scored two runs apiece in the contest.
The St. Paul Saints would jump out to a three run lead in the top of the first against Sioux City starter Taylor Jordan. Max Murphy beat out a ground ball for a base hit to start the inning and advanced to third when Kyle Barrett doubled down the line in left field. That brought Burt Reynolds to the plate, who drilled the ball over the head of the centerfielder and to the wall for a two run double. He would later score on a Zach Walters groundout and the Saints had an early 3-0 lead.
Jake Matthys retired the Explorers in order in the bottom of the first, but they would get a run against him in the second. Back-to-back singles by Nate Samson and Jay Baum started the inning, and both would move up on a groundout. Dylan Kelly then brought home Samson with a sacrifice fly to cut the deficit to two.
The Saints responded with two runs in the top of the third. Murphy led off with a double and Barrett followed with a double of his own, bringing Murphy home to extend the lead back to three. Two batters later, Walters grounded a single into right field bringing Barrett home to give St. Paul a 5-1 lead.
That was far more than enough support for Jake Matthys (5-3). The right-hander, making just his second start of the season, retired the final three batters of the second inning starting a run of 21 straight retired by the St. Paul starter. In fact, the back-to-back singles to start the second were the only two baserunners to reach against Matthys. He came out after the eighth, allowing 2-hits and run, while striking out 4.
St. Paul would add one more insurance run for their starter in the eighth. With one down, Brady Shoemaker connected on his sixth home run of the season. That gave the Saints a 6-1 lead, which would be the final.
Max Murphy and Kyle Barrett were both 2-5 with 2-runs scored. Barrett also drove in a run. Burt Reynolds and Zach Walters each drove in a pair.
The St. Paul Saints will look for a sweep of Sioux City on Thursday. They sent right-hander Eddie Medina to face Keith Picht. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.
By Robert Pannier