It was a perfect night of sorts for the St. Paul Saints Saturday night. Not only did starter Mark Hamburger win his 10th game of the year to remain undefeated, but the Saints offense put of double-digits for runs in the 10-4 victory over the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks. That moved St. Paul to 39-16 on the season, 9.5 games ahead of the Winnipeg Goldeyes in the North Division of the American Association.
The RedHawks jumped out to the early lead when they scored in the top of the first inning. K.D. Kang singled to get it started and moved to second when Ryan Pineda followed with a single to put two on with no one out. Two batters later Josh Mazzola singled to score Kang to make it 1-0.
In the bottom of the first the Saints got it right back. Brady Burzynski started the inning by drawing a walk and then stole second. The throw by the catcher bounced into center and he moved to third on the error. A wild pitch brought him home and the game was tied.
Despite giving up the run, it was a good start for the RedHawks. The score remained tied through the second, but in the third St. Paul blew it open.
Tanner Vavra singled to start the frame and Angelo Songco then reached on a fielder’s choice to put two on with no one out. Alonzo Harris then drew a walk and the bases were loaded. Next up was Tony Thomas, who ripped a base hit into center that scored both Vavra and Songco. Up 3-1, Willie Argo drove home Harris on a sacrifice fly, and Tony Caldwell followed with a towering shot over the left field fence to make it 6-1. That was his seventh homer of the year.
In the top of the sixth, the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks would score two and get back into the game. Kang started the inning with a single, and scored when Keury De La Cruz hit a two-run shot to make it 6-3. That was De La Cruz’s seventh homer of the season.
Once again, the Saints responded right away. In the bottom of the sixth, St. Paul used the long ball as well. Vavra singled with two outs, and Songco followed with a deep shot over the right field fence for his 11th of the year. That made it 8-3.
The Saints would get two more runs in the bottom of the seventh. Hanson started the inning with a walk, and scored when Argo followed with his sixth homerun of the year. That made the score 10-3.
That was plenty enough support for Hamburger (10-0). The right-hander allowed 8-hits and 4-runs in 8-innnings pitched. He did not walk a batter and struck out 4. Gene Escat pitched a perfect ninth to finish it out.
Vavra finished 2-4 with 2-runs scored. Argo was 1-3 with a run and 3-RBI. Kang finished 3-4 with 3-runs and an RBI for the RedHawks.
The victory was the St. Paul Saints ninth victory in a row at home. That ties the franchise record which has been set on three different occasions.
The two teams will continue their three-game series Saturday night. Dan Johnson (0-1, 9.00) makes his second start of the season for the St. Paul Saints. Cody Scarpetta (2-0, 3.96) faces off against his former team. Game time is 7:05.
By Robert Pannier