Straka Dominates to Lead Saints to Victory; Thomas Extends Streak to 23
After struggling in his last start, starter John Straka rebounded Saturday night, dominating the Sioux City Canaries over seven-innings to lead the St. Paul Saints to a 12-4 victory. The win saw Tony Thomas extend his hitting streak to 23-games, and Aaron Gretz rapped out 4-hits and drove in 3 in the victory.
Straka and Sioux City starter Shawn Blackwell kept the game scoreless through the first two innings, but the Saints would break the scoreless tie in the top of the third. Brady Burzynski walked to start the inning and moved to second on a single by Breland Almadova. Nate Hanson then grounded into a fielder’s choice that put him at first and moved Burzynski to third, and Angelo Songco was hit by a pitch to load the bases. That brought Thomas to the plate. He lined a base hit into left field, scoring Burzynski and extending his hit streak to 23-consecutive games. Hanson attempted to extend the lead to two, but he was cut down at the plate on a great throw by Aaron Owen to keep it a one-run game.
In the top of the fourth, the St. Paul Saints added two more runs. A double by Willie Argo got the inning started, and Tanner Vavra moved him to third on a single. Gretz followed with a single that scored Argo and it was 2-0. A sacrifice fly by Alonzo Harris scored Vavra to extend the lead to three.
In the bottom of fourth Sioux City got a run back. Chris Grayson singled with one out, and moved to second on a ground out. A base hit by Ozney Guillen scored Grayson to make it 3-1.
It would stay that way until the sixth when the Saints would send nine men to the plate and score five runs. Argo singled to start the inning and moved to second on a perfect sacrifice by Vavra. A Gretz double brought Argo home and he moved to third on a single by Burzynski. There was a run in, two on and just one out when Harris came to the plate. He lined a single up the middle to plate Gretz, and Almadova followed with a single to score Burzynski. Almadova would then head for second looking for the stolen base. He would reach easily, and Harris would break for home on the throw to second, scoring on the steal of home. An error by the second baseman allowed Almadova to score and it was 8-1 Saints.
In the top of the eighth, St. Paul would remove any hope that the Canaries had of getting back into this game. Argo plated two of the runs with a double to the wall that brought home Almadova and Hanson. Vavra drove home Songco with a single, and Gretz brought home Argo with a single of his own.
Straka (3-1) was done after 7-innings and he had pitched a gem. The right-hander allowed 4-hits, a walk, and an earned run. He struck out 4.
The Canaries would add three final runs in the ninth. Owen hit his first homerun of the season, a three-run shot to make the score 12-4. That is how the game would end.
The Saints recorded 16-hits, and scored in double-digits for the second consecutive night. Gretz was 4-5 with a run and 3-RBI. Almadova had 3-hits, scored 2, and drove in another. Argo also had 3-hits, scored 3 and plated 2. Owen had 2-hits and 3-RBI for Sioux Falls.
The 14-day road trip for the St. Paul Saints reaches its end tomorrow. Left-hander Kody Knaus (0-1, 6.75) will start for the Saints. Joe Bircher (0-2, 3.24) will go for the Sioux Falls Canaries. Game time is 4:05.
By Robert Pannier