Eddie Medina, Saints Complete Sweep of Explorers
The St. Paul Saints know they have a distinct home field advantage in the American Association. With the large hometown crowds, the Saints can ride that energy on most nights. They did that and more during their longest opening homestand since 2005, finishing off a 10-game stint with a three-game sweep of the Sioux City Explorers, winning 5-1, on Sunday afternoon at CHS Field in front of 8,914. The win gave the Saints a 7-3 record o the homestand and the season.
Saints starter Eddie Medina started off 2019 with the Opening Day start and after giving up four runs in the first inning, he hasn’t given up another run since. He bent a little on Sunday, but never broke as he shutdown the Explorers for 6.1 innings. Medina had just one clean inning, but pitched around jams in the second and third. In the second Dexture McCall reached on a one out single. Nelson Ward’s bunt single put runners at first and second and a wild pitch moved the runners up. Luke Bonfield then hit a comebacker to Medina and McCall came to far off third. Medina threw to Young at third, who threw home before Jeremy Martinez ran McCall back to the bag and tagged him out. With runners at second and third and two outs Dylan Kelly flew out to end the inning.
In the third Kyle Wren led off with a double. Then Medina got a break as Michael Lang hit a grounder to the left side. As Wren was running towards third the ball hit him. With one out and a man at first, Nate Samson singled up the middle, but Medina settled down and struck out Jose Sermo and Dean Green to end the inning. Medina went 6.1 shutout innings allowing eight hits while striking out eight. He has now not allowed a run in 17.0 consecutive scoreless innings.
The Saints offense did the damage with one swing of the bat from Max Murphy in the fourth. Young led off with a double to right and Brady Shoemaker was hit by a pitch. With one out Murphy unloaded on one for a three-run homer to left, his fourth of the season, to give the Saints a 3-0 lead.
In the sixth, Burt Reynolds doubled with one out and Murphy singled him to third. After Devon Rodriguez’ fielder’s choice erased Reynolds at the plate, Blake Schmit extended his hitting streak to nine games with an RBI single to right-center giving the Saints a 4-0 lead. Martinez’ hot smash off of the glove of Sermo at third scored Rodriguez and gave the Saints 5-0 lead.
The lone run for the Explorers came in the eighth when Lang singled to right and stole second. With two outs Green knocked home Lang with a single to center. That was the lone earned run the Saints gave up in the series allowing just two runs (one earned) over 27.0 innings.
The Saints are now headed out on the road for their first roadtrip of the season and begin a three-game series on Monday evening at Haymarket Park against the Lincoln Saltdogs at 5:05 p.m. The Saints send RHP Dustin Crenshaw (0-0, 4.77) to the mound and the Saltdogs are TBA. The game can be heard on KFAN Plus, 96.7 FM.
By Sean Aronson