Dustin Crenshaw Demonstrates Economy of Pitches in St. Paul Saints 8-1 Win
The common cliché is that the only certain things in life are death and taxes. You may need to add Dustin Crenshaw pitching a masterpiece for the St. Paul Saints to that list, as the big right-hander won his eighth game of the season, shutting down the Sioux Falls Canaries in an 8-1 victory.
The righty has been incredible all season long, posting 10 quality starts in 11 outings this season. Friday night was no different as Crenshaw went 8 innings, giving up 7 hits and 1 run. The Saints starter also showed his usual economy of pitches, throwing just 87 in the game, 65 of which were strikes. It continued his stance of throwing strikes and daring opposing batters to hit them, something the Canaries did not do much of on this night.
Both teams got on the scoreboard in the first inning. Alonzo Harris led off the game by reaching on an error that should probably have been ruled a hit. The Saints center fielder popped one that looked like it would drop into no man’s land in shallow left-center field, but the Sioux Falls shortstop was able to get his glove on, but he could not pull it in. The play was ruled an error in a rather tough call. Harris stole his 20th base of the season and moved to third on a sacrifice by Willie Argo. Vinny DiFazio followed with a single scoring Harris and St. Paul had the lead.
In the bottom of the first Sioux Falls tied the score. Chris Grayson doubled to lead-off the inning and, following a sacrifice, came home on a single by David Bergin. That would be all the runs that Crenshaw would allow.
In the top of the second inning, the St. Paul Saints starter gave up a lead-off single, then started a run where he retired 14 of the next 15 hitters he faced. The only hit he allowed came at the start of the fourth, but the runner was eliminated off the base paths on a double play.
In the bottom of the seventh the Sioux Falls Canaries got back-to-back singles from Brian Humphries and RJ Perucki to begin the inning. Tyler Shover attempted to bunt both runners into scoring position, but newcomer Ryan Lashley made a nice play to catch the ball in midair and fired to second looking to double up Humphries. The runner noticed that no one was at third and attempted to run for the bag, but Anthony Phillips made a great play to tag out Humphries for the double play.
In the eighth Crenshaw (8-1) gave up a lead-off single and a runner reached on an error to put runners at first and second with just one out. Crenshaw got Jason Repko and David Bergin to each fly out and the inning was over.
Jeremy Strawn started for Sioux Falls and pitched extremely well. Following the first inning run he kept the Saints off the scoreboard for the next three innings. The run came to an end in the fifth, and it was the base on balls that cost him.
Strawn retired the first two hitters of the inning, but then went to a full count on both Vinny DiFazio and Ian Gac before walking the two. That brought Angelo Songco to the plate, and on a 1-1 pitch he crushed the offering over the right field wall for a three-run homer. That tied him for the team lead with nine, and moved his American Association leading RBI total to 45.
In the eighth Harris doubled with one out and scored when Willie Argo singled to drive him home.
In the ninth the St. Paul Saints added three more runs. Mike Kvasnicka singled to start the frame and moved to third on a double by Phillips. Ryan Lashley followed by delivering his first hit in a Saints uniform, scoring Kvasnicka. Dan Kaczrowski walked to load the bases and Harris singled to drive in Phillips. Two batters later DiFazio reached on an error that scored Kaczrowski to make it 8-1 St. Paul.
In the bottom of the ninth Dylan Chavez came in to close out the game. He hit a batter with two outs, but pitched incredibly well, throwing eight of his nine pitches for strikes.
The St. Paul Saints got 14-hits, four of which came off the bat of Kvasnicka, who also scored a run. Harris was 2-6 with 2 runs scored and an RBI. Gac was 2-2 with a run scored before leaving the game.
By Robert Pannier