Vinny DiFazio, David Espinosa Lead St. Paul Saints Comeback Victory, 10-4
The Gary Southshore RailCats were making it clear that these ‘Cats have claws. The visitors rallied for four runs in the first two innings against the red-hot Robert Coe, and looked like they were going to put this game away, but the St. Paul Saints rallied back behind clutch hits from David Espinosa and Vinny DiFazio to take the lead, and eventually win 10-4.
Coe had entered the game on a four-game win streak and his 2.99 ERA had him sixth in the American Association in that category. The RailCats were not impressed. Jon Jones led off the game with a single, but was cut down on a fielder’s choice by Brennan Metzger. Adam Taylor then walked and Dustin Geiger followed with a single that scored Metzger to make it 1-0.
In the second Gary would be at it again. Michael Vaughn began the inning with a double to the gap in left field. A single by Spencer Mahoney moved Baugh to third and he scored on a sacrifice attempt where Jarred Mederos was able to beat the throw to the bag, scoring the run and putting two runners on. Another sacrifice moved both runners into scoring position, and a wild pitch plated Mahoney. Adam Taylor’s RBI single made it 4-0.
Rene Solis had breezed through the first two innings, allowing a lone single, but that runner was eliminated by a double-play. In the third the St. Paul Saints would get to him however, and by the time the inning was over they would have the lead.
Solis retired the first hitter of the inning, but Anthony Phillips drew a walk to get things started. After a strikeout Ryan Cavan singled, and Espinosa followed with a single that scored Phillips to make it 4-1. Next up was DiFazio, who lined a double into the gap that brought both runners home making it a one-run game. Angelo Songco was the next hitter and he fought off a Solis fastball, fisting it into shallow right field. Three players ran hard to reach it, but none could and it dropped in scoring DiFazio. Ian Gac followed with a shot the other way that just landed fair down the right field line easily scoring the hustling Songco.
The Saints had gone from trailing by four to leading by one. This was the way that the team had hit earlier in the season, not only scoring runs but getting a large number of them with two outs.
In the bottom of the fourth St. Paul would extend their lead, and it would be the two out rally that was the catalyst again. Solis retired the first two batters of the inning, but Dan Kaczrowski, who made three incredible plays at third in the game, lined a single to keep the inning going. Cavan followed with a single, as did Espinosa, whose hit scored Kaczrowski. A wild pitch scored Cavan and DiFazio followed with a single that scored Espinosa.
For Songco and DiFazio their RBI in the game gave them each 80 for the season. That tied the St. Paul Saints record for most runs plated in a single season, and there is still five games left.
In the fifth the Saints would extend their lead again. Ryan Lashley singled to start the inning, and Alonzo Harris came in to run for the team. Two batters later, with Harris running, Phillips was hit in the shoulder to put two on with two out. Kaczrowski followed with a single that scored Harris and an error allowed Phillips to score.
The Saints had responded with 10 unanswered runs, and all of them scored with two outs. It was an absolutely amazing display of clutch hitting by the club.
After struggling through the first two innings Coe (11-3) was masterful from there. The right-hander allowed just 2 hits over his final 5 innings of work. For the game he went 7 innings, allowing 7 hits, 4 walks and 4 earned runs. He struck out 2. Chris Peacock pitched the final two innings of the game, throwing two perfect innings of relief, striking out two.
Five Saints hitters had at least two hits in the game. Kaczrowski was coming up threes, going 3-4 with a run scored and an RBI to go along with his three amazing defensive plays. Cavan, Espinosa, DiFazio and Songco had two hits apiece. DiFazio drove in 3 and scored a run. Espinosa scored twice and drove in 2.
Read Feature on Shortstop Anthony Phillips
By Robert Pannier