It was an opening night of sorts for the St. Paul Saints. Trevor Foss was making his first appearance since joining St. Paul and Zach Walters just arrived after being acquired from the Kansas City T-Bones. Both played a significant role as St. Paul staved off a feverish comeback to down the Cleburne Railroaders, 5-4.
The St. Paul Saints would take the lead by scoring runs in every inning from the second through the fifth. In the bottom of the second, Matt Synder drew a walk with one down and advanced to second on a ground out. There were two down and it looked like Dylan Mouzakes would keep the game scoreless when he quickly got ahead of Dante Bichette, Jr. 1-2, but Bichette singled up the middle to give the Saints the lead.
In the third, Max Murphy led off with a double into left field. Kyle Barrett followed by grounding a ball down to third that he turned into an infield single. Burt Reynolds grounded a ball into left for a base hit, bringing Murphy around to score, extending the lead to two. Two batters later, Zach Walters singled into center, bringing Barrett home to make it 3-0.
In the fourth, Anthony Phillips singled with one down, but Mouzakes was able to get Murphy to fly out. With two down, Barrett singled to right, before Reynolds singled up the middle to bring home Phillips and the score was 4-0.
Trevor Foss, who was making his first start for the Saints, was rolling through the first four frames. He gave up just two hits and struck out the side in the fourth, giving him six through the first four frames. In the fifth, the Railroaders would finally find a way to get on the board. Foss retired the first two batters of the inning, but KC Huth was able to keep the inning alive by drilling a ball to the wall in center that he legged out for a triple. A base hit by John Menken brought him home to make it 4-1.
In the fifth, the Saints extended their lead back to four. Walters led off the inning by hitting a 1-1 pitch over the wall in right for his first home run in a Saints uniform and seventh of the season. That made it 5-1.
Foss breezed through the sixth, but Cleburne would get a run back in the seventh. Levi Scott singled to start the frame and was replaced on the bases on a fielder’s choice by Cameron Monger. Huth then hit a ball to third and beat the throw to first, but the throw was wild. That allowed Monger to score and that would end the night for Foss. In his first start, Foss (1-0) allowed 6-hits in 6.2-innings pitched with one earned run and 7-strikeouts.
Jake Matthys came on and closed out the inning and tossed a perfect eighth. That brought a call for Andrew Thome in the ninth and the Railroaders would rally. Thome struck out the first two batters, but Patrick Palmeiro kept the game going with a single to left. Monger followed with a double into left before Huth singled. Palmeiro easily scored. Monger came around looking to score as well. The throw to the plate was late, but Saints catcher Justin O’Conner fired to second to gun the runner trying to take the extra base to end the game. Thome earned his second save despite giving up the two runs.
Burt Reynolds had 2-RBI, the fourth straight game where he has had 2-RBI and the sixth in the last seven. Kyle Barrett was 4-5 with a run scored and Zach Walters was 2-4 with a run and 2-RBI in his debut for the St. Paul Saints. KC Huth was 3-4 with a run and 2-RBI for Cleburne.
The victory moved the St. Paul Saints back into first place in the North Division. They will look to sweep the series tomorrow. Alex Gunn will face Saints ace Eddie Medina. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.
By Robert Pannier