Ryan Zimmerman Gives Cleburne Bats the Zzzs; Saints Win 10-2
It has been a difficult start for the St. Paul Saints starting pitching staff in the first couple of weeks of the 2017 American Association season. With Robert Coe hurt, Kramer Sneed unable to go, and Eric Veghlan deciding that his baseball career is over, Manager George Tsamis has been scrambling for arms, and Wednesday night he signed Ryan Zimmerman, who had a stellar 2015 season but struggled mightily last year. It looks like the 2015 Ryan Zimmerman is back, as the right-hander allowed just 1-hit in 6-innings of work to lead the St. Paul Saints to the 10-2 victory over the Cleburne Railroaders.
A night after the Saints were hammered by the Railroaders for 15-runs, St. Paul was desperately looking for an outstanding outing and Zimmerman gave them just that. He and Josh Hodges kept this a scoreless game through the first two innings, as the Saints starter allowed three walks but no-hits.
In the third, St. Paul grabbed the lead. With one down, Danny Oh lined a double into center. Two batters later, Nate Hanson delivered a clutch two-out hit to score Oh and it was 1-0 Saints.
Cleburne responded in the bottom half of the first, scoring a run to tie the score. Alex Polston was hit by a pitch to start the frame, and moved to second on a ground out. Next up was Devan Ahart, who singled to score Polston to even the game at one.
The Saints responded with five in the fourth to take a commanding lead. With one down, Tim Colwell walked and then stole second. Tony Caldwell followed with a base hit to move Colwell to third, before Jon Kristoffersen struck out. Hodges had got a huge out, but the third out proved to be elusive. Oh walked to load the bases and Breland Almadova then drew the free pass to drive home Colwell, making it 2-1. Next up was Hanson, who singled up the middle to score both Oh and Caldwell. Brady Shoemaker then drilled a double to the wall, scoring both runners and the score was 6-1.
In the fifth, the Saints increased their lead to six. Anthony Gallas started the frame with a base hit, then stole second, and moved to third on a fly ball. Caldwell reached on a hit by pitch and then stole second. The throw by the catcher was wild, and Gallas came home on the error to make it 7-1.
That was all the runs that Ryan Zimmerman (1-0) needed. Following the run in the third, he would retire nine of the next 10 batters he faced, only walking a batter to start the fifth and he would be erased on a double-play. It was a brilliant outing that saw the right-hander go 6-innings, allowing a lone hit, 4-walks, and 1-earned run. He also struck out 3.
The score would stay the same into the eighth, when each team would plate a run. In the top half of the inning, Oh doubled with one down and scored on a base hit by Almadova. In the bottom of the frame, Polston tripled to start the inning and scored on a ground out. That made it 8-2.
The Saints responded with two in the top of the ninth. With one down, Gallas blasted his first homer of the year to extend the lead to seven. Oh would plate Colwell later in the inning with a single, and that would give the final score of 10-2.
Three players on the St. Paul Saints had 3-hits in the game. Danny Oh was 3-5 with 3-runs scored. Nate Hanson was 3-5 with a run and 3-RBI. Brady Shoemaker was also 3-5, and he drove in 2-runs. Mike Blanke finished 1-1 with 2-walks for Cleburne.
These two teams will conclude their four-game series tomorrow. First pitch is 7:05.
By Robert Pannier