Anthony Phillips Leads Hit Parade in St. Paul Saints 16-4 Victory
The St. Paul Saints began the second half of the season much in the same way that they began the first half – with a sweep. The Saints opened the season with a four-sweep of the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, and repeated that feat, opening the second half with a four-game sweep of the Sioux Falls Canaries. The four wins moved the club to 42-12, the best start in St. Paul history.
On this night the Saints set season highs for hits and runs, pounding the Canaries for 19 hits in the 16-4 victory. Every St. Paul hitter had at least one hit and eight players scored a run while eight had an RBI. It was a big night but none more so than for Anthony Phillips,
This was an outstanding game for the first five innings as Sioux Falls rallied to tie the score after falling behind by three early on. Both teams got on the board in the first inning setting the stage for an exciting slugfest.
In the top of the first the Saints scored two runs. Alonzo Harris led off the game with a triple and came home to score on a sacrifice fly by Willie Argo. Vinny DiFazio was the next hitter and he crushed a Tyler Pearson pitch deep to center field to make it 2-0. That was DiFazio’s team leading 1oth home run of the season.
In the bottom of the first Sioux Falls got one of those runs back. Chris Grayson led off with a single and scored on a double by Jerome Pena. That made it 2-1.
In the top of the second the Saints retook a two-run lead. Ryan Lashley walked to begin the inning and moved to third on a base hit by Alonzo Harris. Argo walked to load the bases and scored on a DiFazio sacrifice fly to make it a two-run lead.
Back to the scoreboard St. Paul went in the top of the third. Angelo Songco singled to start the inning and moved to third on a base hit by Joey Paciorek. Phillips reached on an error that scored Songco to extend the lead to three.
Neither team scored in the fourth, as Robert Coe was struggling to keep the Canaries off the base paths but he was not allowing runs. In the bottom of the fifth Sioux Falls finally got to the Saints starter. With one out, Michael Broad doubled and Grayson sent him home with a double of his own. Grayson stole third, but Coe struck out Pena for the second out. That brought David Bergin to the plate who took a 3-1 offering from Coe and drilled it for a two-run homer to tie the game.
It had been a disappointing inning for Coe, but his team responded for him right away in the top half of the next inning. Harris was hit by a pitch to begin the inning and moved to second on a wild pitch. Argo fell behind 0-2, then looked at a ball before singling to score Harris and give St. Paul back the lead.
It had been an exciting six innings that gave the St. Paul Saints a 5-4 lead. It had been fun to watch the Canaries battle back and see the Saints respond right away to retake the lead. In the seventh the fun came to an end, at least if you were a Canaries fan.
In the top of the seventh the St. Paul Saints plated six-runs as ten men came to the plate. With one out Phillips singled, and Ryan Lashley followed with a base hit of his own. Dan Kaczrowski then drilled a base hit to score Phillips and extend the lead to two. Harris drilled a grounder to third that was misplayed for an error bringing Lashley home and putting Harris at first. Two batters later DiFazio was hit by a pitch, and Angelo Songco brought two of those runners home with a double. That moved his RBI total to 47, tops in the American Association. Mike Kvasnicka closed out the scoring with a single that scored DiFazio and Songco.
In the ninth the St. Paul Saints scored five more, and it occurred thanks to something they had not done all season. Alonzo Harris singled to get the inning started, and two batters later DiFazio singled. Kvasnicka singled to score Harris and Paciorek walked to load the bases. That brought Phillips to the plate, who crushed a line drive shot over the right field fence for his second home run of the season. Phillips became the first Saints player to hit a grand slam this season. He finished the day 3-6 with 2 runs and 4 RBI.
Coe (5-2) earned the victory, pitching 6 innings, allowing 9 hits, and 4 earned runs. He did not walk a batter and struck out 8. Dylan Chavez, Drew Gay and Chris Peacock each pitched a perfect inning to finish off the game.
Harris was 3-6 with 4 runs scored and an RBI. Kvasnicka was 2-5 with a run and 3 RBI. Songco was 3-5 with 2 runs and 2 RBI. DiFazio was 2-4 with 3 runs and an RBI.
By Robert Pannier