Mike Kvasnicka, Ryan Lashley Go Deep in St. Paul Saints 5-4 Victory
It was almost as exciting of a night off of the field as it was on, as CHS Field hosted The National Anthem sang by Joe Piscopo and the crowd set a world record for the largest pillow fight, according the Guiness Book of World Records. It was truly a spectacular night of fun and entertainment on “Live from St. Paul It’s Tuesday Night” Night at the park. However, fans bashing each other with pillows was not the only mashing going on. Mike Kvasnicka’s first inning three-run homer and Ryan Lashley’s solo shot in the sixth backed another outstanding performance by Dustin Crenshaw, as the St. Paul Saints won 5-4.
The Saints got on the scoreboard early, staking their big right-hander to a 4-0 lead after just one inning. Crenshaw retired the Winnipeg Goldeyes in order in the top half of the inning. In the bottom half Willie Argo got the rally going with a single with one out. Argo stole second base, and scored when Vinny DiFazio lined a shot over the left fielder’s head for a double. Angelo Songco was intentionally walked, and Kvasnicka made Winnipeg starter Kyle Anderson pay for that choice by blasting a three-run homer into the Saints bullpen in left field. It was the Saints right fielder’s ninth home run of the season.
That seemed to be all the support Crenshaw needed. He did not allow a hitter to reach base until Reggie Abercrombie singled to start the fifth, but Abercrombie was caught stealing meaning the Saints starter had retired the minimum through five innings. In the sixth Winnipeg finally were able to get through against the right-hander.
Nic Jackson doubled to lead off the inning, but Crenshaw retired the next two hitters making it seem inevitable that the shutout would be maintained, but Adam Heisler kept the inning alive with a base hit to right field that scored Jackson to make it 4-1. Heisler stole second and moved and scored on a base hit by Casio Grider. Grider then stole second and scored when Casey Haerther doubled to make it 4-3. Seemingly on the ropes, Crenshaw did what he always does – challenge hitters and get ground balls. This time Abercrombie grounded back to Crenshaw who threw to first for the out to end the inning.
In the bottom of the sixth the St. Paul Saints got one right back. Anthony Phillips singled but was picked off. That brought Lashley to the plate who clubbed his first home run of the season to extend the lead back to two.
Crenshaw got back into form, retiring the side in the seventh and getting the first out in the eighth before being pulled. Crenshaw (9-1) had gone 7.1 innings, allowing 5 hits and 3 earned runs, while striking out 5. The big right-hander could have gone further, but manager George Tsamis decided he had gotten all he needed out of his starter.
“He could have easily gone on, but he was pitching on three days’ rest, and so I wasn’t going to leave him in. He pitched really well.”
Chris Peacock closed out the eighth, and in the ninth Tsamis turned to closer Ryan Rodebaugh. The closer gave up a home run to Josh Mazzola, but struck out Jackson to end the game. That was Rodebaugh’s 14th save of the season.
Kvasnicka had a great day at the plate. He was 2-4 with a run and 3 RBI. Phillips, Argo and Lashley all went 2-4 as well.
By Robert Pannier