Mark Hamburger Fillets Goldeyes: Saints Take Game 1, 1-0
The St. Paul Saints may have won eight of 17-games against the Winnipeg Goldeyes during the regular season, but nine losses in their last 12-games had a lot of people thinking the Saints were in some serious trouble in this series. Ace Mark Hamburger had struggled a bit against the Goldeyes, and his performance was going to be a key if St. Paul had any chance of winning. Needless to say, if he is any indicator, then the Saints are in great shape. Hamburger blanked the Goldeyes on 7-hits in 8-innings of work Thursday night, and two relievers combined with him on the shutout to give the Saints a 1-0 lead in the best of five series.
This was an incredible pitching duel as Hamburger and Mikey O’Brien both pitched splendidly. O’Brien breezed through the first inning, striking out the final two hitters in the frame, and the Saints starter looked like he would do the same thing when he retired the first two hitters of the inning. However, back-to-back singles put runners at first and second, but the Hamburger remained cool, getting a fly out to end the threat.
In the second, it was St. Paul’s turn to try to get on the board, and they looked like they may get a little rally going when two of the first three batters in the inning reached base. However, the Winnipeg starter struck out the next two hitters to get out of it.
In the third, the Saints would finally break through and take the lead. Breland Almadova led off by being hit by a pitch, and he would move to second on a wild pitch. A ground out by Alonzo Harris moved Almadova to third and he scored on a sacrifice fly by Ryan Cavan. It wasn’t a very exciting way to score a run, but if fans were looking for anything more they were going to be wholly disappointed. That would be the only run of the game.
Both pitchers really seemed to settle in after the third. Hamburger would give up just four-hits over the next five frames, and one of those runners was thrown out by Vinny DiFazio trying to steal second.
O’Brien looked very sharp as well. He gave up 2-hits and 2-walks over the next 4-innings, and his defense played exceptionally well behind him.
Hamburger could say the same. Almadova made an amazing catch against the wall to end a potential rally in the bottom of the first, and Harris made a diving catch a few innings later to take away a base hit.
In anticipation of Hamburger needing to start Game 5, he was pulled after 8-innings. The right-hander allowed 7-hits and no walks, while striking out 2. Caleb Thielbar came on to start the inning and gave up a base hit. He was then pulled for Ryan Rodebaugh who closed out the game for the save in the 1-0 win.
O’Brien was the hard-luck loser, yielding just 3-hits in 7-innings pitched. He walked 4 and struck out 5.
Game 2 will be tomorrow night at 7:00. 11-game winner Robert Coe will start for the Saints. He will be opposed by Kevin McGovern.
By Robert Pannier