Hamburger’s Rockets Red Glare, Harris’ Bombs Burst as Saints win 9-2
There is nothing St. Paul Saints Manager George Tsamis likes more than an outstanding pitching performance by his starter coupled with a lot of runs provided by his lineup. That is exactly what he got on this Fourth of July, as Mark Hamburger used his rocket arm to subdue the Joplin Blasters, while Alonzo Harris provided the biggest bomb of them all – a grand slam – as the Saints won 9-2.
The Blasters were the ones who grabbed the early lead. After Hamburger breezed through the first inning, Joplin got on the board, courtesy of an error. Former Saint Willie Cabrera singled to start the frame and moved to second on a single by Charlie Valerio. Gerardo Valentin then grounded down to Harris, but the ball slipped under his glove for an error, allowing Cabrera to score. That made it 1-0.
The Saints responded with two runs in the third. Alonzo Harris singled with one out and moved to second on a walk to Breland Almadova. Harris then attempted to steal third, but was caught stealing. Almadova moved to second on the play. Nate Hanson then drew a walk and both runners advanced on a wild pitch. That brought Angelo Songco to the plate. He ripped a single into right field that easily plated Almadova. Hanson would score as well, but the ball was cutoff and Songco was caught in a rundown to end the inning. Regardless, the Saints had the lead.
In the fourth they would blow it open. With one out, the red hot Willie Argo singled to left field. Tony Caldwell followed with a single that moved Argo to second. Two batters later Maxx Garrett walked to load the bases with two outs. That brought Alonzo Harris to the plate. On a 1-1 pitch Harris crushed a bomb deep over the left field fence for a grand slam and the lead burst to five. For Harris, it was his 10th homerun of the season.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Saints would add another run. Hanson walked for the second time in a row and Songco worked the count full before walking as well. Tony Thomas was then hit by a pitch and a sacrifice fly by Argo scored Hanson to make it 7-1.
In the sixth the St. Paul Saints would add their final two runs of the game. Maxx Garrett singled to start the inning and moved to second when Harris walked. A double by Almadova scored Garrett and a sacrifice fly by Hanson scored Harris to make it 9-1.
That would be way more than enough support for Hamburger (8-0). After giving up the run in the second, the Saints starter allowed just two hits over the next four innings. He was in complete control. In the seventh, Joplin finally got back on the scoreboard. Edwin Gomez hit his second homerun of the season, but that would be the final run Hamburger allowed. He increased his American Association leading win total to eight, and tossed his third complete game of the year. He allowed 8-hits and 2-runs, only one of which was earned. The righty struck out 4.
Harris finished 3-4 with 2-runs and 4-RBI. Argo was 2-2, with 2-walks, a run scored and an RBI. Garrett scored twice and Songco drove in 2. Gomez was 3-4 for Joplin with a run and an RBI.
These two teams continue their three-game series tomorrow. Robert Coe (5-1, 3.86) goes for the St. Paul Saints. He will be opposed by Alex De La Cruz (0-1, 10.57) for Joplin. First pitch is 7:05.
By Robert Pannier