Allen, Alexander Homer in Ninth to Lead Saints Comeback, 6-3
ROSEMONT, IL (August 21, 2020) – A year ago the St. Paul Saints went 17-3 down the stretch to finish with the best record in the American Association and their first championship in 15 years. The 2020 Saints are trying to get on a similar role. They needed ninth in dramatics on Friday night at Impact Field to notch their third straight victory as Josh Allen’s three-run home run off the light tower in left gave the Saints the lead in the top of the ninth propelling them to a 6-3 victory. The win improves the Saints to 23-20 and they are now tied for the second, and final, playoff spot with 17 games to go.
With the Saints down 3-1 in the top of the ninth Chris Chinea led off with a double to left-center and John Silviano walked. That brought up Allen, who two nights ago became just the third player in CHS Field history to homer over the batter’s eye. On Friday, he did his best Roy Hobbs impersonation drilling a three-run home run off the light tower in left, his sixth home run of the season, giving the Saints a 4-3 lead. With one out Max Murphy doubled and with two outs Troy Alexander smashed a two-run opposite field home run to left, his sixth of the season, giving the Saints a three-run cushion.
That was enough for Jameson McGrane who allowed one hit, but nothing else in the bottom of the ninth to pick up his league leading 13th save.
The Saints couldn’t do anything all night long against one of the top starters in the league, Luke Westphal. At one point Westphal struck out seven Saints in a row from the last out to the first through the last out in the third. Westphal went 7.0 shutout innings allowing three hits and striking out 10.
Saints starter Nick Belzer kept his team in the game, but the Dogs scored in the second. With nobody on and two outs Tyler Ladendorf singled to right-center and Blake Allemand singled him to third. The Dogs took a 1-0 lead on an RBI single by Harrison Smith.
With two outs in the fifth Logan Moore hit a solo homer to right, his second of the season, giving the Dogs a 2-0 lead. Ladendorf then reached on a two base throwing error by Chesny Young at third. Allemand knocked him home with a single making it 3-0.
Once Westphal left the game the Saints gained confidence. In the eighth, with Jalen Miller on the mound, Murphy led off with a walk, moved to second on a ground out, and scored on a double by Alexander. He finished the night 2-4 with a double, home run, three RBI and a run scored.
The Saints bullpen was tremendous as Matt Pobereyko, Aaron Brown, Brian Glowicki and McGrane each pitched 1.0 scoreless innings allowing a total of one hit over 4.0 innings and striking out four.
The same two teams play game two of the three-game series on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. at Impact Field. The Saints send RHP Ryan Zimmerman (4-1, 4.18) to the mound against Dogs LHP Jake Dahlberg (2-2, 6.61). The game can be heard on KFAN Plus, 96.7 FM.
By Sean Aronson, St. Paul Saints