Rodriguez Remains Hot in Leading AirHogs to 11-8 Victory
If Devon Rodriquez never has another at-bat against the St. Paul Saints that will be perfectly fine with Manager George Tsamis. A night after the Texas AirHogs first baseman had two hits, including a three-run homer, he belted out four hits and drove in three more on Tuesday in an 11-8 victory over St. Paul.
This was a game that got off to a tough start for the Saints from the very beginning. Texas starter Palmer Betts retired the Saints in order in the top of the first, but St. Paul starter Alec Crawford would not have similar success.
Michael Hur started the bottom of the first by drawing a walk, and moved to second on a single by Juan Sanchez. Burt Reynolds was hit by a pitch, bringing Austin Gallagher to the plate. He lined a base hit that scored Hur and it was 1-0. Rodriguez was the next hitter, and he drilled a double into the gap in center scoring two and extending the lead to three. A fielder’s choice by K.J. Alexander plated Gallagher and Brian Bistagne’s two-out single brought in Rodriguez to make it 5-0. Nine men came to the plate and the Saints were not looking good`.
That would remain the score until the top of the fourth when St. Paul would get two runs to cut the deficit. Nate Hanson was hit by a pitch to get the inning started and he would score on a two-out double by Tony Thomas. Mike Gilmartin followed with a double of his own and it was suddenly a three-run game.
The AirHogs responded right away in their half of the inning. Bistagne was hit by a pitch and Hur singled two batters later. That brought Sanchez to the plate, who turned on a Crawford pitch and drilled it for a three-run homer. That was his third homerun of the season and extended the lead to 8-2. Texas would get a ninth run when Rodriguez singled home Reynolds.
Back-to-back two-run innings by the Saints in the sixth and seventh innings allowed them to reduce the deficit to just three again. Angelo Songco started the sixth inning with his fourth homerun of the season and Tanner Vavra plated the second run of the inning with a base hit that scored Thomas.
In the seventh, Alonzo Harris started the inning with a double and came home when Breland Almadova homered to left field. Almadova’s second homer of the season cut the AirHogs lead to three and brought life to the St. Paul dugout.
In the eighth, the AirHogs added to their lead. Austin Gallagher singled with two outs to score Bistagne and DuPont to make the score 11-6. It was a great night for Gallagher as well. The third baseman was 3-5 with a run scored and 3-RBI.
In the top of the ninth the Saints tried to rally. Aaron Gretz started the inning with a single and moved to third on a base hit by Harris. Almadova drove home Gretz with a ground out and Harris scored on a sacrifice fly by Hanson, but that would be all the runs they could muster, falling 11-8.
Betts (2-1) earned the victory. Crawford (1-2) took the loss.
Rodriguez finished the game 4-5 with a run and 3-RBI. For the series he is 6-9 with 6-RBI. Harris continues to heat up, going 3-5 with 2-runs scored for St. Paul.
These two teams will finish their three-game series tomorrow at 7:05. Mark Hamburger (4-0, 2.20) goes for the St. Paul Saints looking for his American Association leading fifth win while also trying to end the Saints four-game losing streak. He will be opposed by Matt Shepherd (0-2, 3.48).
By Robert Pannier