Kramer Sneed Silences Saltdogs in 9-2 St. Paul Saints Victory
For those who doubt the brilliance that is the St. Paul Saints starting rotation, ask the Lincoln Saltdogs and they will be happy to testify to how good this group is. For the third straight night the Saints starter kept the visitors off the scoreboard, this time it was Kramer Sneed who shut the Saltdogs down for seven innings in St. Paul’s 9-2 win.
About a month ago Sneed was struggling to get out of the first inning of games without yielding a run or two. That seems to be completely eliminated as an issue now as the left-hander retired the first nine men he faced before allowing lead-off walk in the top of the fourth.
The fourth had the potential to become a big inning for the Saltdogs, but Sneed showed why he is one of the top pitchers in the American Association. After walking Matt Forgatch to begin the inning, Aaron Payne followed with a single to put two on with no one out. Mitch Canham hit into a fielder’s choice that put runners at the corners with one out, but Sneed struck out C.J. Ziegler, and then got Eddie Young to ground out to end the threat.
In the fifth Brian Joynt drew a walk with one out, and Jeremy Hamilton singled to put two on with one out for the second inning in a row. Again, the Saints starter remained incredibly poised, getting Tucker White to pop out, and then striking out Forgatch.
Back-to-back singles by Ziegler and Young in the sixth put two on with two out, but Mike Gilmartin grounded out to end the inning. An error put the leadoff man on in the seventh, but Sneed retired the side from there, striking out Forgatch to end the inning.
For the left-hander it was another brilliant outing. Sneed moved his record to 11-2, and dropped his ERA to 2.83. His 11 wins rank him second in the American Association. He allowed just 4 hits and 2 walks in 7 innings of work, while striking out 6. He ran a personal scoreless streak to 15 straight innings.
While Sneed was dominating on the hill, his offense staked him to an insurmountable lead in the bottom of the first inning. Jesse Smith started for Lincoln and, after retiring the first hitter of the inning, all hell broke loose. Willie Argo doubled just off the glove of the left fielder and Vinny DiFazio drew a walk. That brought Angelo Songco to the plate, who took a 3-1 offering from Smith and drilled it over the right-center field fence for a three run home run. That now gives the Saints first baseman 13 home runs, second in the American Association, and 68 RBI, which is tops in the league. He was not done however.
Mike Kvasnicka followed the Songco shot with a single and Joey Paciorek reached on an error. Kvasnicka went to third and Paciorek was able to take second on another error. Steve Nikorak was the next hitter and his single brought Kvasnicka home. Anthony Phillips then went the other way and drilled a shot down the right field line for a double. Both Paciorek and Nikorak came around to score, and it was 6-0. Dan Kaczrowski’s single scored Phillips, and the Saints had a 7-0 lead one inning into the game.
In the fifth the St. Paul Saints extended their lead. Kaczrowski singled to begin the inning, and scored on a double by DiFazio. In the seventh Songco’s RBI single scored Argo for the team’s ninth run.
For the Saints four players had at least two hits. Kaczrowski finished 3-4 with a run and an RBI. The Saints second baseman has just been a beast at the plate since July 15. He has hit safely in 19 of those 20 games, raising his average 92 points during that span.
Songco finished 2-3 with a run and 4 RBI. DiFazio was also 2-3 with a run and an RBI. Nikorak continues his impressive return, going 2-4 with a run and an RBI.
The one bright spot for the Saltdogs came in the eighth with Sneed out of the game. Aaron Payne, who went 2-5, doubled to start the inning and moved to third on a single by Canham. A wild pitch scored Payne and Canham scored on a sacrifice fly by Gilmartin. That would produce the final score of 9-2.
By Robert Pannier