Kramer Sneed Grounds RedHawks in 3-0 St. Paul Saints Victory
Last night Kramer Sneed’s roommate allowed one lone unearned run in his outing against the Gary Southshore RailCats in an 18-2 victory. That was Dustin Crenshaw who moved to 11-1 in the six inning outing. Tonight it was time for Sneed to take the friendly rivalry to a new level, tossing eight shutout innings in the St. Paul Saints 3-0 victory over the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks. That moved Sneed to 10-2, the second most wins in the American Association, just behind his roommate.
The left-hander had been struggling a bit lately, allowing 10 runs over his last 10 innings pitched, but on this night it was vintage Kramer Sneed as St. Paul Saints fans have come to know him. The lefty had struggled to get out of the first inning unscathed in recent starts, but he breezed through the first frame, yielding a one out walk, then retiring the next two hitters, including striking out former Saint Joe Bonfe to end the inning.
The last two outs of the first started a run where he retired nine straight. It was vintage Sneed, who was throwing strikes and getting hitters to make contact with pitches they could do little with. In the fourth his run came to an end with a one-out double by Chad Mozingo but, again, he retired the final two hitters to end the threat.
In the fifth he gave up a walk and in the seventh Bonfe singled to lead off the inning. Neither runner moved any further, however, as the St. Paul starter was just overpowering. In the eighth the RedHawks finally looked to mount a rally when Drew Muren and Zach Penprase provided back-to-back singles with two outs. Sneed buckled down against Mozingo, striking him out to end the threat.
Sneed (10-2) left after eight innings. He allowed just 4 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 3. It was his ninth quality start of the season and was one off of his season low for hits in a start. That, ironically, occurred against Fargo in his first start of the season, when Sneed gave up three hits in six innings of work.
While Sneed was dominating Fargo-Moorhead, his offense was giving him all the run support he needed to gain the victory. Taylor Stanton started for the RedHawks, and retired the Saints without giving up a run in the first two frames, despite yielding three singles and a walk.
In the third the St. Paul Saints took the lead. Willie Argo walked to begin the inning and Vinny DiFazio followed with a double that scored the speedy Argo all the way from first. For DiFazio that was RBI number 57, tops in the American Association.
In the fifth the visitors extended their lead. It was Argo who got the rally started again. He singled to begin the inning, and stole his 24th base of the season to put him into scoring position with no one out (Argo would later nab No. 25). DiFazio drew a walk and two batters later both runners moved into scoring position on a ground out. With Ryan Lashley at the plate Stanton uncorked a wild pitch that scored Argo, and DiFazio came home when Lashley grounded a single up the middle that made it 3-0.
In the ninth the Saints turned to closer Ryan Rodebaugh. He retired the RedHawks in order for his 16th save of the season. It is the fifth straight save he has converted.
The victory was the St. Paul Saints 50th of the season in just their 66th game. The club is still three ahead of the pace of the Wichita Wingnuts from last season, who set an American Association record with 73 wins.
By Robert Pannier