The St. Paul Saints remained tied with the Gary Southshore RailCats thanks to a Max Murphy double in the top of the 12th that led St. Paul to a 6-5 victory over the Winnipeg Goldeyes on Saturday evening. Twice the Saints bullpen squandered leads, only to see the offense battle back to lead the team to victory. Burt Reynolds and Justin O’Conner each had two hits for the Saints.
The St. Paul Saints would take a two run lead, thanks to single runs in the second and third innings. In the top of the second, Burt Reynolds turned on a 2-0 offering by Alex Boshers and blasted his third home run since joining the Saints four games ago. It was Reynolds seventh home run overall and staked St. Paul to the 1-0 lead.
In the third, Jeff Malm led off with a double and moved to third on a sacrifice. A groundout by Kes Carter brought Malm home to extend the lead to two.
Eddie Medina started for St. Paul and was absolutely brilliant. The right-hander allowed a one-out walk followed by a single in the first, but then did not allow another hit until Reggie Abercrombie singled to start the fourth. Medina would leave after six, allowing just 2-hits and 2-walks while striking out 4.
Beck Wheeler came on in the seventh and tossed a scoreless frame, but Winnipeg would rally for four in the bottom of the eighth. Kevin Garcia and Dave Sappelt led off with back-to-back singles before Matt McCann walked to load the bases with no one out. Ken Frosch came on to retire the dangerous Josh Romanski, bringing Mike Devine out of the bullpen. Abercrombie would greet the reliever by driving in two to tie the score and Grant Heyman followed with his ninth homerun of the season to give the Goldeyes their first lead of the game.
In the top of the ninth, Winnipeg turned to Victor Capellan looking to close out the game. However, he walked Dante Bichette, Jr. to start the inning before giving up a double to Justin O’Conner. Malm followed with a groundout that brought home Bichette before O’Conner scored on a second groundout to tie the game at four.
That sent the game to extra innings where it looked like St. Paul would earned the victory in the top of the 11th when O’Connor blasted a one-out home run to put the Saints back on top. It was his seventh home run of the season.
However, the Goldeyes would rally for a run against reliever Jake Matthys in the bottom of the frame. Andrew Sohn led off with a triple and scored when Jamey Smart singled two batters later.
In the top of the 12th, the St. Paul Saints would take the lead for good. Richard Prigatano walked with one out and moved to second on his eighth stolen base of the season. Max Murphy then doubled home the runner to put St. Paul on top 6-5.
Matthys remained in the game and it looked like Winnipeg may rally once again. However, with first and second and one down, Matthys got out of trouble by getting Abercrombie and Heyman to both pop out to end the game.
Matthys (2-3) earned the victory for St. Paul. Justin O’Conner was 2-4 with 2-runs, a homerun, and an RBI for the Saints. Burt Reynolds finished 2-5 with a run, a homerun, and an RBI. Grant Heyman and Reggie Abercrombie each had 2-RBI for Winnipeg.
The St. Paul Saints will look for the series victory on Sunday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 1:00.
By Robert Pannier