Motl, Saints Rally to Down RedHawks, 7-4
The St. Paul Saints bullpen has been solid all season long, but they needed help from the offense on Tuesday night at CHS Field. After giving up the lead in the top of the eighth, the offense came through with a four-run bottom of the inning to come from behind and beat the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks 7-4 in front of 7,012. The win was the fourth in a row for the Saints and improves their record to a league best 16-7.
With the Saints leading 3-2 going into the eighth, left-hander Jordan Jess struck out lefty Joe Becht to start the inning. Jess then hit left-hand hitting T.J. Bennett and Jess left the game for Landon Beck. He would walk Leobaldo Pina and then give up a single to Correll Prime to load the bases. Daniel Comstock’s RBI single to center tied the game at three. Yhoxian Medina then hit a one hopper back to Beck, but the ball glanced off his glove and ricocheted towards the left side scoring Pina and giving the RedHawks a 4-3 lead. Beck fanned Brennan Metzger and reliever Ken Frosch finished off the inning by getting Tim Colwell to ground out.
The Saints offense went to work in the bottom of the inning as Blake Schmit led off by reaching on a hit by pitch and Brady Shoemaker followed with a walk against Brent Jones. After just two batter, Jones departed for lefty Joe Filomeno, who entered with 15 strikeouts and one walk in 11.1 innings pitched. After a strikeout of Burt Reynolds, a balk moved the runners up. Jeremy Martinez then walked to load the bases. Josh Allen came through with his third hit of the game, an RBI single to left tying the game at four. Allen went 3-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Chesny Young then worked a walk to force in the go ahead run as the Saints took a 5-4 lead. Joey Wong finished it off with a two-run single to center giving the Saints a three-run cushion.
The Saints jumped on the board first with their very first hitter of the night, Max Murphy. He clubbed a solo homer to center, his fifth of the season, giving the Saints a 1-0 lead.
Saints starter Spencer Jones was solid, but ran into trouble in the fifth. With one out he walked Comstock and hit Medina. Metzger hit a ground ball to the hole between short and third that Wong backhanded, but his throw to first skipped by Shoemaker and Comstock scored to tie the game at one. A sacrifice lineout by Colwell gave the RedHawks their first lead of the game at 2-1. Jones went 6.0 innings allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits while walking two and striking out six. He lowered his ERA to 1.83.
The Saints wasted little time in tying the game up in the bottom of the inning as Allen led off with a single to left-center. With one out Wong walked and Dan Motl’s bunt single loaded the bases. Motl finished the night 3-4 and raised his average to .333. A sacrifice fly by Murhpy tied the game at two.
In the seventh Shoemaker came calling with a solo shot to straightaway center, his sixth of the season, giving the Saints a 3-2 lead.
The same two teams meet in game two of the three game series on Wednesday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. The Saints send RHP Dustin Crenshaw (2-1, 3.45) to the mound against RedHawks LHP Sebastian Kessay (3-0, 3.47). We celebrate the 20th Anniversary of SpongeBob Squarepants. The game can be heard on KFAN Plus, 96.7 FM and seen on the Saints Cable Network, cable access channels in and around the Twin Cities area.
By Sean Aronson