Rain, Late Rally Dampen St. Paul Saints Spirits in 4-3 Loss
The game started off beautifully for the St. Paul Saints. They had a 2-0 lead and Pedro Hernandez was pitching spectacularly for the visitors. Then the rains came and after an hour and 44 minute rain delay the Winnipeg Goldeyes turned the tide and won the game on a fluky ninth inning rally to snap the Saints three-game win streak.
Kyle Anderson started for Winnipeg and retired Alonzo Harris to begin the game, but then gave up a single to Steve Nikorak. For Nikorak it was an amazing comeback for a guy who just two weeks ago was sprawled out on the ground after a pitch broke several bones in his face. The injury looked to be season ending, but the infielder got himself ready and returned after just two weeks.
With Nikorak at first, Vinny DiFazio singled to move the runner to third. Ian Gac followed with a sacrifice fly to bring Nikorak home and it was 1-0 St. Paul Saints.
Anderson then set down the Saints in order over the next two innings, but in the fourth the visitors extended their lead. The left-hander retired the first two hitters of the inning, but Mike Kvasnicka turned on an Anderson offering and drilled his eighth home run of the season to make it 2-0.
Then the rains came.
Hernandez had looked outstanding for St. Paul. He had given up back-to-back hits with two outs in the first, but then made a key pitch to end the threat. He then gave up a lead-off double in the second, but retired the next six batters he faced. Unfortunately, the rain made it impossible to return and he was done after three shutout innings.
Drew Gay relieved and pitched extremely well. He shutout the Winnipeg Goldeyes for the next three innings, but in the seventh one swing of the bat ruined an otherwise excellent performance by the right-hander.
Jon Weber began the bottom of the seventh with a single. Two batters later Luis Alen hit his second home run of the season to tie the score.
The St. Paul Saints responded right away, scoring a run in the top of the eighth to retake the lead. Brendan Lafferty came into the game for Winnipeg, and was greeted by an Anthony Phillips double to start the frame. Dan Kaczrowski laid down a perfect bunt to move Phillips to third, and he came around to score when Harris hit a sharp single to left field.
Gay was done after the seventh, but was in line to still earn the victory. Mike Zouzalik pitched a perfect eighth inning, and manager George Tsamis turned the game over to closer Ryan Rodebaugh in the ninth. Rodebaugh had been brilliant of late, converting his last four save chances, and allowing no runs over his last five appearances. A fluke situation brought that run to an end.
A Josh Mazzola fly ball to right field got lost in the lights and dropped in for a double. Weber followed with a single to put runners at the corners and a wild pitch brought Mazzola home to tie the score. A passed ball moved Weber to third. That prompted Rodebaugh to walk the next two hitters, in a strategy to get a force at home on a ground ball. Brad Boyer was the next hitter, and he hit a 1-0 pitch to right field that brought home Weber to win the game for the Goldeyes.
Rodebaugh (2-3) took the tough loss, while Jalien Peguero (1-1) earned the win. Both Mazzola and Weber had two hits for the Goldeyes. Nikorak went 2-4 with a run scored in his return.
By Robert Pannier