Tony Caldwell Spurs St. Paul Saints Comeback, Down Canaries 5-3
Game 2 of the three-game series between the Sioux Falls Canaries and the St. Paul Saints had much of the same feel as Game 1. The Canaries had jumped out an early 3-0 lead Monday night, then hung on to for the 3-2 victory. Tuesday night they jumped out the 3-0 lead again, only to watch the Saints battle back and tie the game on a two-run triple by Tony Caldwell, who would later score the go-ahead run, as St. Paul won 5-3.
Saints ace Mark Hamburger made the start for St. Paul, but the Canaries were not impressed early on. The St. Paul right-hander retired the first two hitters, but Jerome Pena kept the inning alive with a single and moved to second on a wild pitch. That brought David Bergin to the plate, who drilled his third homerun of the season to stake the Canaries to the 2-o lead.
In the bottom of the second they would extend the lead. Back-to-back singles by Ethan Chapman and Frank Martinez started out the inning. An error by Hamburger on a pickoff attempt would allow Chapman to score and it looked like it may be a long night for the Saints.
However, in the top of the third the Saints began their comeback. Alonzo Harris was the first hitter of the inning and he blasted his second home run of the season over the left-center field fence to make it a two-run game.
It would stay 3-1 entering the sixth, when the Saints would take the lead. With one out Nate Hanson lined a single and moved to third on a single by Tony Thomas. Thomas moved to second on an error and there were two men in scoring position with one out. That brought Caldwell to the plate and he roped one to the 359 -foot sign, hitting off the wall to easily score both runs and tie the game. Caldwell raced hard and reached third safely. Tanner Vavra followed with a single to make it 4-3 and give the Saints their first lead in the series.
In the top of the seventh, St. Paul extended their lead to two. Breland Almadova was the first hitter of the inning and he drilled a home run over the left field wall to make it 5-3. It was Almadova’s first homer of the season.
Hamburger (2-0) settled down after the first and pitched beautifully from there on out. The right-hander allowed 6-hits, 3-walks, and 3-earned runs. He also struck out 6 and, at one point, retired 13 straight batters.
With two outs in the eighth Caleb Thielbar came on in relief and closed out in the inning. Ryan Rodebaugh came on in the ninth and allowed a two-out single, but he would retire the side for his second save of the season.
After struggling early on, Harris continues to heat up. The Saints center fielder was 2-5 with a run scored and an RBI. He has homered twice in the last three games and is 5-14 during that span with 4-stolen bases. Tony Caldwell was 2-4 with a run and 2-RBI. Four Saints players had two-hits apiece and every starter had at least a hit. Pena and Bergin had two-hits apiece for the Canaries.
The conclusion of this series is tomorrow night. The loss now means that there are no undefeated teams left in the American Association, as the Canaries were the last to suffer defeat.
By Robert Pannier