It was a tough start to the 2018 American Association season for the St. Paul Saints. After scoring two runs in the top of the second to take a one-run lead, the Gary Southshore RailCats responded with 7-runs in the bottom of the frame on their way to a 10-5 victory. Reggie Wilson had three of the RailCats’ 12 hits and both Andy Paz and Cole Fabio drove in two to lead the way.
After Daniel Minor kept the Saints off the scoreboard in the top of the first, the Gary Southshore RailCats would respond with a run in the bottom half of the frame. Alex Crosby led off with a base hit off Jake Esch. Randy Santiesteban walked before Mitch Glasser laid down a perfect bunt that put both runners into scoring position. Colin Willis followed with a sacrifice fly, scoring Crosby and it was 1-0 RailCats.
The St. Paul Saints responded right away, plating two in the top half of the second. Jayce Boyd got the rally started with a base hit before Noah Perio, Jr. walked. Dante Bichette, Jr. lined a single to center and the bases were loaded with no one out. Justin O’Conner grounded into a fielder’s choice that gunned Boyd at the plate. That brought Kes Carter to the plate, who lined a single into right-center that scored both Perio and Bichette and it was 2-1 Saints.
The euphoria for St. Paul did not last long. In the bottom of the frame, Wilfredo Gimenez led off the inning with a single and he moved to second on a base hit by Reggie Wilson. That brought Christopher Bono to the plate who doubled to drive home Gimenez to tie the score. Cole Fabio followed with a double of his own, bringing in both runners and Gary Southshore was back on top for good. After stealing third, Fabio scored on a sacrifice fly by Crosby. Esch recorded the second out of the inning, but the third proved to be elusive. He hit Mitch Glasser and Colin Willis followed with a base hit. Glasser came home when Andy Paz reached on an error, and Willis scored on a base hit by Gimenez.
That would be it for Esch, as Ryan Schlosser came on looking to in the rally. He was greeted by a single from Wilson that scored Paz to make it 8-2 before retiring the final batter of the inning.
In the bottom of the third, the Gary Southshore RailCats extended their lead to eight. Crosby walked with one out and moved to second on a base hit by Santiesteban. Two batters later, Willis walked to load the bases and both Crosby and Santiesteban scored on a double by Paz to make it 10-2.
The Saints got one of those runs back in the top of the fourth when Kes Carter hit his first homerun of the season to make it 10-3.
St. Paul added two more runs in the sixth, thanks to the long ball. Perio started the inning with a single and, two batters later, O’Conner hit his first home run of the season to make it 10-5. However, the Saints would get no closer.
Miner (1-0) went 5-innings to earn the victory, allowing 4-hits, 3-walks, and 3-runs. He struck out 5. Reggie Wilson finished 3-5 with a run and an RBI for the RailCats and Colin Willis was 1-2 with a run and an RBI. The Saints were led by Kes Carter, who was 3-4 with a run and 3-RBI.
These two teams will meet again on Saturday as Eddie Medina will make his Saints debut against Alex Gunn. First pitch is scheduled for 3:10.
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By Robert Pannier