Kansas City T-Bones Big Sixth Downs St. Paul Saints: Saints Summary
In a pattern that is becoming all too familiar to the St. Paul Saints, the Kansas City T-Bones used a four run sixth inning to down the Saints 5-3. The four-run outburst not only erased a 3-1 lead, but gave the Saints their fifth loss in their last six.
St. Paul just finished a three-game series with the Wichita Wingnuts where the big inning cost them the first two games of the series, and nearly cost them the third. After giving up six this last Thursday in the second inning, the Saints gave up five in the third Friday night. Saturday night it looked like it was going to be more of the same after Jake Khahaulelio hit a two-run homer just two batters into the game, but the early outburst did not take the Saints down. Despite giving up a four run seventh inning, St. Paul was able to score late to win 9-7. Then came Sunday.
The Saints dominated all game long. In the top of the first the team from Minnesota got a one out walk from Jared McDonald, who scored one out later on a double by Henry Wrigley. They would add to the lead when Willie Cabrera hit a home run with one out in the top of the third to make it 2-0. It was Cabrera’s fifth home run of the year.
In the bottom of the fourth Kansas City got on the board. With one out Matt Padgett walked and advanced to third on a single by Ray Sadler. Nick Schwaner then popped out to the first baseman in shallow right field to bring up Bryan Sabatella. He wasted no time, hitting the first pitch from Saints pitcher Ben Hughes into right field to cut the lead in half.
The score would remain this way until the top of the sixth when the Saints would plate another run. Wrigley led off by reaching base on an error by T-Bones third baseman TJ Mittelstaedt. Angelo Songco sacrificed Wrigley to second, but he was caught on a fielder’s choice that put Evan Bigley at first with two outs. Bigley stole second to get back into scoring position, and scored when C Jake Taylor singled to center field. Up 3-1 and with the way that Hughes was pitching, the Saints were feeling pretty good. Then the bottom dropped out.
With one out in the bottom of the sixth, Padgett doubled into right field. Ray Sadler flew out to center field for the second out, but then things fell apart in what has become an all too common scenario – the big two out rally. Schwaner followed with a double to left center field scoring Padgett, and then Hughes would walk Sabatella and Vladamir Frias to load the bases. Saints Manager George Tsamis decided to stay with Hughes and it did not pay off. Brian Erie doubled into right field clearing the bases, and suddenly a two-run lead had become a two-run deficit.
The four-run outburst continued a terrible pattern for Saints pitchers of late. Not only have they been hurt by the big inning, but have seemed unable to close out a team after getting two outs. This has been especially true of their starters, and has been the biggest factor in why they are giving up so many runs of late.
T-Bones closer Kris Regas took over in the ninth, as the St. Paul Saints would attempt to rally. With one out, Keith Brachold singled to right field. Joey Becker then hit a comebacker to Regas who misplayed it to put runners on first and second with one out. Devin Thaut struck out for the second out, and then McDonald walked to load the bases. That brought Cabrera to the plate, who was 2-4 to that point, but he flew out to center field for the third out, and the Saints suffered the loss.
It was a very tough loss for the Saints. They had dominated the game virtually all night, except for that one half inning, and Hughes had pitched extremely well. The loss dropped them a game behind Laredo in the chase for the Wild Card, and is especially disturbing because the Lemurs are so hot right now. St. Paul no longer controls their destiny and if they don’t get their pitching staff back on track soon they may find themselves out of the race all together.
By Robert Pannier
Senior Baseball Editor
Member of the IBWAA