Tony Thomas, John Straka Help Saints End Skid, 8-3
The St. Paul Saints entered Saturday night’s game as losers of three straight to the Kansas City T-Bones. However, the Saints put that streak in the rearview mirror, jumping ahead 5-0 behind the power of Tony Thomas and the arm of John Straka on their way to an 8-3 victory. Anthony Gallas and Breland Almadova also had big bats on the night, with each recording 3-hits, a run scored and an RBI.
This was a scoreless contest between Straka and Gabe Perez through the first two innings, but St. Paul grabbed the lead with a run in the top of the third. Jon Kristoffersen doubled to start the frame, but Perez was able to retire the next two hitters, and it looked like he would get out of the inning unscathed. However, Almadova delivered a clutch two-out single to score Kristoffersen and the Saints were ahead 1-0.
In the top of the fourth, St. Paul would extend that lead to five. Gallas let off the inning with a single into left field, and Tony Thomas followed by drilling his team-leading sixth home run of the season over the left field wall to extend the lead to three. Two batters later, Maxx Garrett, who was recently added to the roster, drilled his first home run of the season. A walk to Kristoffersen followed but he was erased on a fielder’s choice. Danny Oh walked before Almadova singled into left field to score Vavra and the Saints were on top 5-0.
Straka had breezed through the first three innings, but Kansas City responded with three runs of their own in the bottom of the fourth. Kevin Keyes got the rally started with a one-out single, and he scored when the red-hot Zach Walters drilled his sixth home run of the season. That extended Walters hitting streak to 10. Joe Jackson followed with a walk before Chase McDonald singled into left field. A base hit by Chantz Mack brought Jackson home, and the tying run was now at first base. However, Straka got Leonardo Rojas to ground out to end the inning. That would be as close as the T-Bones would get.
In the top of the sixth, the St. Paul Saints extended their lead back to five. A base hit by Vavra got the inning started, and he moved to second on a wild pitch. Oh then lined a double into right field that brought Vavra home. Almadova reached on an error and Oh scored on a ground out by Nate Hanson. Gallas was the next hitter, and he lined a single into left field to score Almadova to make it 8-3.
John Straka (3-2) would allow 6-hits and 3-runs in 7-innings of work. He struck out 3. Tony Thomas finished the day 2-4 with a run and 2-RBI. Breland Almadova and Anthony Gallas both went 3-5 with a run and an RBI. Zach Walters was 1-3 with a run and 2-RBI for Kansas City..
The St. Paul Saints are off tomorrow. They will welcome the Sioux City Explorers on Monday night.
By Robert Pannier