Dustin Crenshaw Leads St. Paul Saints to Franchise Marks, 4-0
It was an historic night in Joplin, MO as St. Paul Saints starter Dustin Crenshaw tossed a six-hit shutout. That earned the club their 61st victory, tying the 2004 team for most victories in a single season. Crenshaw also became the winningest pitcher in St. Paul Saints history with his 13th win, broke the club record for most shutouts in a single season (3) and tied a Saints mark for most complete games (5), which was set by Mark Hamburger in 2013. It was truly an historic night that turned St. Paul’s way virtually from the start.
The St. Paul Saints got on the board early against Joplin Blasters starter Reyes Dorado. After the right-hander retired the side in order in the first, Angelo Songco started the second with a single that extended his hitting streak to eight games. Ryan Lashley followed with a single that moved Songco to third, with Lashley taking second on the throw. Next up was Joey Paciorek, who drilled a three-run homer to stake the Saints to the early lead. It was Paciorek’s fourth home run of the season.
St. Paul added another run in the ninth, thanks again to Angelo Songco getting a rally started. The Saints first baseman walked to start the inning, and moved to second on a sacrifice by Lashley. A walk to Steve Nikorak put two on with two outs, bringing Anthony Phillips to the plate. He took two quick balls, then ripped a single that scored Songco to make it 4-0.
The offense did their job, but they did not need to supply much help on this night. Crenshaw was absolutely stellar, tossing just 99 pitches, 78 of which were strikes, in the six-hit complete game shutout. The Saints starter retired the first 10 Blasters hitters of the game before giving up a one-out single in the fourth. Crenshaw had five 1-2-3 innings and did not walk a batter. He also struck out four.
The big right-hander showed that he does not like to have his integrity challenged. Early in the contest, Blasters manager Carlos Lezcano asked the umpires to take a look at Crenshaw’s glove and forearm, implying that the Saints starter had some kind of foreign substance he was using to doctor the ball. Of course nothing was found, and the right-hander took out his frustration by dominating Joplin the remainder of the contest.
The victory moves Crenshaw to 13-2. His 13 wins lead the American Association, one ahead of three other pitchers, including teammate Kramer Sneed. He also lowered his ERA to 2.03, fourth best in the league. His five complete games lead the league, as do his three shutouts.
Songco finished the day 1-3 with 2 runs scored and a walk. Dan Kaczrowski was 3-4.
With Sioux City being rained out, the St. Paul Saints moved one full game ahead of the Explorers for the American Association’s best record. These two teams will meet for a big three-game series in St. Paul starting on Tuesday.
By Robert Pannier