Kevin McGovern Leads Winnipeg Goldeyes to 7-6 Victory
When the Winnipeg Goldeyes traded for Kevin McGovern before the season, they were expecting that the left-hander would step in and be a key member of their rotation. A guy that could win 10 games, make 20 starts, and keep the team in games. Monday night he showed just how good he can be, shutting down the potent Saints lineup for seven-innings, giving the Goldeyes a split of their four-game series, and moved Winnipeg to four games back in the North Division.
The night got off on the right foot for the Goldeyes against Saints’ starter John Straka. In the second inning Jacob Rogers started the frame with a double and Casio Grider followed with a walk. Two batters later Tanner Murphy punched a base hit just out of the reach of shortstop Tony Thomas and Winnipeg was up 1-0. Maikol Gonzalez followed with another bloop single in what became the nemesis for Straka. He was making great pitches and the Goldeyes batters were not hitting the ball hard, but the balls were dropping in just out of his defenders.
Wes Darvill was next up and he, too, found a hole in shallow left field to load the bases. David Rohm followed with a sacrifice fly in what was probably the hardest hit ball of the inning. A single to left field by Josh Romanski brought home Gonzalez and Reggie Abercrombie doubled to right-center field to extend the lead to five.
In the third, Winnipeg would plate two more. Back-to-back walks with one out got Straka in a bit of trouble. Gonzalez singled to load the bases. With two outs Rohm delivered a huge single up the middle that scored both Ridge Hoopii-Haslam and Murphy and it was 7-0.
While his team was putting on the offensive showcase, McGovern was simply dominating the game. He allowed a single in the first inning to Nate Hanson, then retired the next 13 in a row, only seeing his streak come to an end when Chad Christensen reached on a three-base error on a drop by the Winnipeg center fielder. Christensen would score on a ground out and it was 7-1.
The Saints would finally get another hit in the seventh, and it was Hanson again who delivered. However, he was erased on a double play and the St. Paul Saints looked like they had no answers for the south paw.
In the eighth, the bats finally came alive. The Goldeyes bullpen had been taxed over the previous three games and so they needed all they could get out of their starter. Willie Argo got the inning started when he beat out an infield single. Two batters later Christensen roped a ball down the left field line that he legged into a double. That put runners at second and third with just one out. Max Garrett followed by grounding to short, but it went under the glove of Gonzalez. Argo scored to cut the deficit to five. A single by Breland Almadova scored Christensen, and Tanner Vavra followed with a double down the line in left that scored two more to make it a 7-5 ball game. A single by Angelo Songco scored Vavra and it was suddenly a one-run game. McGovern was reeling but not out of it by any means. He struck out Argo to end the inning and keep the lead.
In the ninth the Winnipeg Goldeyes turned to Kyle Anderson. He retired the Saints in order for his first save of the season and Winnipeg was the 7-6 winner. McGovern (2-1) earned the win. He went 8-innings, allowed 8-hits, and 6-runs; only three were earned. He did not walk a batter and struck out 7.
After the game, the Winnipeg starter was pleased that his performance allowed the team’s taxed bullpen to get a break. “I think I pitched well tonight. I knew I needed to go eight innings, and I really wish I could have gone nine. My team gave me a big lead right off and that allowed me to just focus on throwing strikes and making them try to battle back.”
Rohm was 2-4 for the Goldeyes with 3-RBI. Gonzalez, Darvill, and Abercrombie each added 2-hits. Both Almadova and Vavra had 2-RBI for St. Paul.
Tomorrow night the St. Paul Saints welcome the Sioux Falls Canaries to town. Game time is 7:05.
By Robert Pannier