Taylor Stanton, Three Relievers Combine to Shutout St. Paul Saints
Two things that were eventually bound to happen occurred Thursday night. For the first time in the 2015 American Association season the St. Paul Saints were shutout. This was the first time this season that the club lost two games in a row, as they fell to the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks 1-0.
The RedHawks, who have struggled early on this season, proved they have the kind of pitching that can keep their team in the game. Prior to the season, Saints manager George Tsamis expressed his concerns with their pitching staff. “Those guys can pitch,” the manager explained. “They have some real quality starters there and are not going to be easy to play against.”
The St. Paul manager’s words proved prophetic as he watched Taylor Stanton shut his club down for 6.1 innings to lead the RedHawks to the victory.
Stanton squared off against Robert Coe, who has been on fire since returning from the disabled list about 10 days ago. Both starters kept their opponent off the scoreboard through the first three frames, but Farg0-Moorhead finally took the lead in the fourth.
Coe retired the first two batters of the inning, but then gave up a single to former St. Paul player Joe Bonfe. Joe Dunigan followed with a double that brought Bonfe all the way around from first base and it was 1-0 RedHawks; the only run that would be scored in the game.
The Saints had their chances to score runs, but they failed to take advantage of those opportunities. The club had two runners on in the first, third and fifth innings, but came away empty-handed in each of those instances. In the sixth they had the bases loaded but Stanton got the out when he needed it to end the threat.
The same was true in the seventh as well. Steve Nikorak walked with one out, and the RedHawks starter’s evening was over. Stanton had walked 6 batters through 6.1 innings pitched, but he had only allowed 2 hits and, more importantly, he had not allowed any runs.
From there, Fargo-Moorhead manager Doug Simunic used his bullpen expertly to maintain the lead. Benji Wait got the one out in the seventh, then came Jonathan Churdy, who gave up only a walk in 1.1 innings pitched. Mike Nesseth came on in the ninth and allowed a walk of his own, but he got the final out for his second save.
Overall the RedHawks walked nine St. Paul Saints players, but only gave up two hits. They bent but did not break. Stanton (1-1) evened his record with the victory.
Coe (3-1) took his first loss of the season, despite pitching an excellent game himself. He went 6.2 innings, allowing 6 hits, 2 walks and a run. Elliot and Nikorak each had a hit.
Boxscore Provided by the American Association
By Robert Pannier