With a lot of flux in the St. Paul Saints rotation, Manager George Tsamis was looking for someone to really establish himself in the back end of the rotation, and Ryan Zimmerman sure made a statement he was ready to do so on Sunday evening. The right-hander, making his third start of the season, allowed 6-hits and no runs in 6.2-innnings to give the Saints a 1-0 victory over the Winnipeg Goldeyes, allowing the team to take the final game of the four-game set.
This was a great pitcher’s duel from the start as Saints starter Ryan Zimmerman shook off some early game jitters to completely dominate the Goldeyes. Edwin Carl was also pitching a great game, where one inning would make the difference.
In the first, with one down, Zimmerman gave up back-to-back singles but got out of it by getting a fly out before striking out Eric Aguilera to end the inning.
In the third, he found himself in some trouble again. Matt McCann walked with one out and moved to second on a single by Dave Sappelt. With Josh Romanski at the plate, St. Paul catcher Justin O’Conner picked off McCann at second. That proved to be huge, as Romanski singled to right, moving Sappelt to third. McCann would have easily scored on a play had he not been picked off. Reggie Abrecrombie was hit by a pitch to load the bases, but Zimmerman struck out Aguilera again to end the threat.
Zimmerman was cool the rest of the way, allowing just a hit and a walk over the next three frames.
The St. Paul Saints were not having much success against Carl either. They would not get their first hit until the third, and looked like they had a little rally going when they were able to put two on with one out. However, Carl got some big defensive help when Sappelt made a great running catch in right-center before Grant Heyman ended the inning with a fantastic play on a drive by Brady Shoemaker to end the threat.
In the fifth, the Saints would finally break through. O’Conner started the inning with a single into left field, and JJ Gould followed by attempting to sacrifice the runner over. The throw was late as both runners were safe. Two batters later, Anthony Phillips singled into left field, bringing O’Conner home to make it 1-0.
That would be the only run of the game. Ryan Zimmerman (1-0) came out after tossing 6.2 outstanding innings. He struck out 7, allowing 6-hits and 2-walks. It was longest outing as a pro.
Jake Matthys came on in the seventh with two down and a runner on, striking out to Sappelt to end the inning. Matthys remained in the game, and would walk two in the eighth, but would get out of inning without the Goldeyes scoring. He would finish the ninth as well, earning his first save of the season. Matthys struck out 4 in 2.1-innings.
Despite the loss, Dave Sappelt was 3-5 and Josh Romanski was 2-2. Anthony Phillips was 2-4 with the lone RBI for St. Paul.
The Saints will welcome the Sioux City Explorers to begin a three-game series on Monday night. Eddie Medina (3-2, 2.29) will go for St. Paul. First pitch is 7:05.
By Robert Pannier