For many years in classrooms throughout the United States the idea of less is more was taught. This concept proposed that teaching more detail about less material would actually aid students to understand more, thus making their education more fulfilling.
Clearly, St. Paul Saints starter Dustin Crenshaw has found a way to apply this same axiom to baseball. The big right-hander found that by reducing the amount of hitters he faced on Saturday evening, he could create many more good things to occur. Crenshaw went the distance on a two-hit shutout, holding the Sioux Falls Canaries to the minimum 27 batters in the 2-0 win. It was an amazing outing that saw the righty give up a single in the first and a triple in the second, then retire the final 22 batters of the game in order for the win, all of it in just 88 pitches.
In the first, Harrison Kain led off with a single for the Canaries. Jerome Pena attempted to bunt him over to second, but Crenshaw leapt off the mound like a hungry bear grabbing its next meal and threw to second to get Kain. With Pena at first, Brian Humphries grounded to shortstop Anthony Phillips who started the 6-4-3 double-play to end the inning.
In the second, catcher Richard Stock lined a hit to the wall in left-center field and cruised around to third with a one-out triple. Michael Wing was the next hitter, and he hit a ball to medium left field. Stock tagged up but St. Paul Saints left fielder Willie Argo made a perfect throw to the plate. Saints catcher Joey Paciorek moved a couple of steps up the line to receive the throw and, after catching it, made a great swipe tag to nail Stock for the double-play to end the threat.
It would be seven long innings for the Sioux Falls Canaries after that. Crenshaw was not overpowering in any way, striking out just two, but he made great pitches, continuously getting the Canaries hitters to get themselves out. The Saints starter was more than willing to allow Sioux Falls to make contact with the ball, because his defense made every play they needed to keep the visitors off the base paths.
While Crenshaw was keeping Sioux Falls off the scoreboard, his offense gave him two early runs that gave the righty the ability to focus on just getting outs. In the bottom of the third inning, Anthony Phillips singled to begin the frame and moved to second on a hard grounder back to Sioux Falls starter Brett Gerritse. The ball popped out of Gerritse’s glove, but he remained poised, throwing out Harris. Two batters later Argo reached first on a base hit that brought Phillips home, and it was 1-0 St. Paul.
In the bottom of the fourth, Angelo Songco got the green light on a 3-0 pitch and ripped it deep over the right-center field fence to make it 2-0. Songco’s second home run of the season went about 430 feet, and the first baseman fired up his teammates as he came back to the dugout.
From there it was all Crenshaw (4-0). He allowed just 2 hits in 9 innings, and took over the American Association lead in wins. He also lowered his ERA to 0.90, tied with Wingnuts starter Tim Brown for the league lead.
The win gave the St. Paul Saints 10 straight wins, tying a single season record for consecutive wins, and moved the team to 14-1, the best record the club has ever had to start a season. Crenshaw’s 27 batter performance was truly one of brevity, but it showed that so much good can come out of so few opposing at-bats.
By Robert Pannier
Follow the St. Paul Saints season with Strike Zone by George Tsamis. This show gives you, the fans, the opportunity to gain insights from the club’s Skipper.