Hamburger Shuts Out Explorers; Adams, Caldwell Each Homer Twice
In the career of every manager they wish that their team would play perfectly in every facet of the game at least one time. Monday night, St. Paul Saints Manager George Tsamis got as close to perfection as he could have asked for. Starter Mark Hamburger tossed a complete game 2-hit shutout and both Tony Caldwell and Trever Adams homered twice as the Saints demolished the Sioux City Explorers, 16-0.
To say that the St. Paul Saints had everything going for them may be the understatement of the year. The team saw Hamburger tie the franchise record for career complete games (10) and for complete games in a season (5). The 16-run victory tied the franchise record for run-differential. It was simply that kind of night.
It started out well from the get go for the Saints. In the bottom of the first, Brady Burzynski started the inning with a single and stole second. Two batters later Tony Thomas was hit by a pitch before Angelo Songco struck out. That put two on with two outs, but the Saints were the masters of the two-out rally on this night. Adams followed the strikeout with a shot to left that landed for a double. Burzynski scored with Thomas going into third. Next up was Caldwell, who drilled a three-run homer over the left-center field wall to make the score 4-0.
In the second, Sioux City starter Bryan Escanio retired the first two batters of the inning but Burzynski kept the inning alive with a single and then stole second base, his third steal of the year. Breland Almadova followed with a double that scored the runner and the lead was five.
In the third the long ball extended the lead further. Angelo Songco led off the inning and drilled the first pitch he saw down the right field line for a homerun, his 13th of the season. Next up was Adams, who crushed one over the right-center field wall for his third homer since joining the Saints. That was the third time this season that the Saints had back-to-back homers in a game. Tanner Vavra later walked and Aaron Gretz singled to put two on with two outs. Time for another two-out rally and Burzynski delivered that, drilling a ball to the wall in left field for a two-run double. That made the score 9-0.
It would stay that way until the fifth, when the St. Paul Saints would extend their lead. Caldwell started the inning and drilled a homer over the right-center field fence for his second homerun of the game and ninth of the year. Vavra then walked and moved to second on a base hit by Gretz. The next two-batters were retired, but Almadova plated Vavra with a two-out single to make it 11-0.
In the sixth, Songco walked and Adams reached on an error to start the inning. The Explorers were able to retire the next two hitters, and the two-out rally was set up once again. Gretz followed with his third straight ground single to right field and Sam Maus singled to left, scoring two runs and extending the lead to 13.
In the seventh, the St. Paul Saints would only plate one run, but it came when Adams crushed his second homer of the game. That was the second time this season that two St. Paul players hit two homeruns in the same game, and the team now has eight two-homer games for the year.
In the eighth, St. Paul added two more runs. Maus walked with one out and Burzynski followed with a double. A ground out by Almadova scored Maus, and a two-out single by Thomas plated Burzynski.
Of the 16-runs the St. Paul Saints scored in the game, 12 came across the plate with two outs in the inning. The team added five homeruns.
While all this scoring was going on, Hamburger was absolutely dominating this contest. He retired the first 11 hitters of the game, only seeing that come to an end when he hit the third batter of the inning in the fourth. Through the first 5.2 innings of the game he had a no-hitter going, and only saw that end on a bloop single with two outs in the sixth. He would allow just two more hits the rest of the way, and would not walk a batter. He struck out 4 in the complete game shutout. That moved him to an American Association leading 11-0 record and lowered his ERA to 2.51.
While Hamburger was an amazing story in and of himself, there was also the night for Burzynski. He had entered the contest with just two hits in his last 18 at-bats, but went 5-6 with 3-runs and 2-RBI. He became the first Saints player to have five-hits in a game this season.
Every Saints hitter reached base at least once and every player but one scored at least one run. It was an absolutely dominating performance on every level.
Tomorrow night’s contest sees left-hander Eric Veglahn (2-3, 5.11) going for the Saints against James Walsh (2-2, 7.22). First pitch is 7:05.
By Robert Pannier