Homers Power Saints Past Milkmen, 5-3
FRANKLIN, WI (August 16, 2020) – Like Sisyphus pushing the boulder up the mountain the St. Paul Saints felt like getting over .500 might never happen. Since they were 2-1 on July 6, the Saints have had six chances to climb back over the .500 mark and six times they couldn’t get it done. The seventh time turned out to be the lucky number in a thrilling 5-3 victory over the Milwaukee Milkmen on Sunday afternoon at Franklin Field. The win sends the Saints to 20-19 and they are now just 1.0 game out of a playoff spot with 21 games to go.
It was a great battle of pitchers to start with the Milkmen going with former Milwaukee Brewer, Tim Dillard who was making his first appearance of the season, and the Saints countering with Ryan Zimmerman. Both matched each other pitch for pitch in spectacular fashion.
The Saints got on the board in the fourth when Alonzo Harris led off with a double just inside the left field line. Nate Samson then hit a grounder to third, but Logan Trowbridge’s throw sailed well over the head of first baseman David Washington allowing Harris to score giving the Saints a 1-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Zimmerman didn’t allow a hit through the first 4.0 innings. In the fifth, however, an error started the inning that would eventually lead to the no-hitter ending. Zach Nehrir led off the inning reaching on a throwing error by shortstop Nate Samson. Mason Davis sacrificed him over. Zimmerman fanned Christian Correa, but on a 1-2 pitch Aaron Hill lined a single into left just out of the reach of the diving Chesny Young at third that scored Nehrir tying the game at one.
The Milkmen took the lead in the sixth. Zimmerman started the inning by walking the leadoff hitter Washington. Adam Brett Walker followed with a two-run homer to left, his 11th of the season, giving the Milkmen a 3-1 lead.
The Saints got home runs of their own in the seventh as Josh Allen deposited one over the left-center field wall, his fourth of the season, for a solo shot cutting the deficit to 3-2. Two batters later John Silviano drilled one over the left field wall, his third in two games and 10th of the season, tying the game at three. That home run chased Dillard as he went 6.2 innings allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits while striking out four. Former Saint Jake Matthys came out of the bullpen and he hit Troy Alexander and then walked Mitch Ghlefi. Mikey Reynolds drilled the go-ahead double scoring Alexander to put the Saints up a run.
Zimmerman worked into the seventh and left with a runner at second and two outs. Jose Velez came out of the bullpen and got Brett Vertigan to pop out to end the inning. Zimmerman went 6.2 innings allowing three runs (two earned) on three hits while walking three and striking out four.
The Saints got a huge insurance run in the top of the ninth on a solo homer by Troy Alexander, his fifth of the season, making it 5-3.
In the ninth, Jameson McGrane started the inning and walked the leadoff hitter Nehrir. He got Davis to fly out, but walked Christian Correa. Brian Glowicki took over and he fanned Hill, but walked Vertigan to load the bases. That brought up the former Major Leaguer Washington. He sent a deep drive to center as Reynolds raced back and jumped up against the wall to make the game saving catch to end the game.
The Saints have Monday off and are back in action on Tuesday night in the first game of a three-game series against the Chicago Dogs at 7:05 p.m. at CHS Field. Both teams are TBA. The game can be seen on the Saints Cable Network, cable access channels in and around the Twin Cities area, streamed at aabaseball.tv, and heard on KFAN Plus, 96.7 FM.
By Sean Aronson, St. Paul Saints