Josh Romanski Quite Devilish to Saints; Goldeyes Sweep Double-Header
The St. Paul Saints opened their five-game series against the Winnipeg Goldeyes with a comfortable 7.5-game lead and ace Mark Hamburger on the hill in Game 1, plus they were already leading 3-0. Game 1 was a continuation of a suspended game in which the Saints were leading, giving St. Paul a great sense of confidence. However, a five-run eighth inning erased a sizeable deficit and Josh Romanski homered in the 10th to give the Goldeyes the victory. Romanski then drove in two in Game 2 to give Winnipeg the sweep of the double-header and reduce the Saints lead in the North Division of the American Association to 5.5.
Game 1 had begun on July 20, and Willie Argo had staked the team to a 2-0 lead in the first. Alonzo Harris had doubled to start the game, Breland Almadova had been hit by a pitch, and Tony Thomas walked to load the bases. Duke Von Schamann retired the next two batters but Argo lined a single into left that scored Harris and Almadova.
In the top of the second, the Saints extended their lead. Tony Caldwell led off the inning with a double and Aaron Gretz followed with a double of his own to make it 3-0.
Then the rains came. The game was suspended and picked up Tuesday evening. Wes Darvill was the second hitter of the inning and he cleared the wall in right with his first homer of the season.
In the top of the third, St. Paul got that run back plus two more. Thomas singled to start the inning and Dan Johnson followed with his fourth homer of the year. Next up was the red hot Nate Hanson, who homered for his ninth of the year. That made the score 6-1.
It would stay that way until the fifth when St. Paul would add another run. Argo drilled a ball to the wall in center that he legged out for a triple and Caldwell followed with a single that brought the runner home to make it 7-1.
In the sixth, it looked like the Saints had put this game away. Thomas doubled with one out and, two batters later, Hanson drilled his second homer of the game to make it 9-1. With Hamburger on the hill and an eight-run lead this game looked like a win, but no one can ever count out the Goldeyes.
In the bottom of the sixth Winnipeg got two of those runs back. Back-to-back singles by David Rohm and Darvill started the frame, and two batters later Carlton Tanabe drove both runners home to make it 9-3. Willie Cabrera’s 14th homer of the season in the seventh cut the deficit to five.
In the eighth, the Winnipeg Goldeyes would put together an incredibly impressive rally. Casio Grider doubled with one out and moved to third on a single by Tanabe. Adam Heisler followed with a double that scored Grider to make it a four-run game. Maikol Gonzalez’s single to left brought home Tanabe and it was 9-6. That would be it for Hamburger.
There were two in scoring position with one out and Manager George Tsamis turned to Caleb Thielbar. Romanski was the first hitter and he lined a double to center that scored both runners which made it a one-run game. Two batters later, a wild pitch brought Romanski home and the Goldeyes had shocked the Saints, tying the score.
It would stay tied through the ninth. In the tenth, Heisler led off with a double, but Thielbar was able to retire Gonzalez. However, Romanski took a 1-0 pitch from the left-hander and drilled it for his eighth homer of the year to give Winnipeg the 11-9 win.
Eric Eadington (3-2) earned the victory. Thielbar (4-2) took the loss. Romanski finished 4-5 with 2-runs and 4-RBI. Gonzalez, Heisler, and Darvill each had 3-hits in the game. Hanson was 2-4 with 2-runs and 3-RBI for the Saints. Thomas and Caldwell each went 3-5.
In the second game, Kody Knaus returned to the Saints, but his return could not stop the Goldeyes momentum. In the bottom of the first, Cabrera hit his 15th homer of the season with two outs to make it 1-0.
In the top of the second, St. Paul tied the score. Hanson doubled with one out and scored on a base hit by Tony Caldwell. That made it 1-1.
In the bottom of the third, the Winnipeg Goldeyes retook the lead. Gonzalez walked to start the frame and moved to second on a ground out. Two batters later Reggie Abercrombie walked to put two on with two outs, and Romanski followed with a double that scored both runners to make it 3-1. The Goldeyes would not relinquish the lead.
In the fourth, Winnipeg extended their lead to four. Grider walked to start the inning and moved to second on a wild pitch. Gonzalez singled to left to drive home Grider. He moved to second on a stolen base and scored when Heisler doubled to right. That made it 5-1
In the sixth, the St. Paul Saints cut the deficit to two. Thomas singled with one out and Johnson followed with his fifth homer of the year. That made it 5-3, but St. Paul would get no closer.
Von Schamann (7-6) earned the victory. Knaus (2-2) took the loss. Victor Capellan (2) earned the save. Romanski was 1-3 with 2-RBI. Johnson was 1-3 with a run and 2-RBI for the Saints.
The two teams will play a double-header Wednesday night as well. Game 1 will see Robert Coe (9-2, 4.79) face off against Edwin Carl (8-5, 4.50). Eric Veglahn (3-3, 4.57) will start Game 2 for the St. Paul Saints against Kevin McGovern (5-3, 4.34). Game 1 begins at 5:30.
By Robert Pannier