Mark Hamburger Gets Win No. 9; St. Paul Saints Win 3-1
While there have been many things that St. Paul Saints Manager George Tsamis has been able to depend upon this season, none has been more prominent than the performance or right-hander Mark Hamburger. The Saints starter delivered another spectacular start Saturday night, holding the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks to one-run off of seven-hits in a 3-1 victory that moved his record to 9-0, tops in the American Association.
While this was Hamburger’s night, it was the RedHawks that got on the board first. Neither team scored in the first, but Fargo-Moorhead would plate a run in the second. Brian Humphries singled to get the inning started. Two batters later Kes Carter doubled, bringing Humphries all the way around to score. That made it 1-0.
It would stay that way until the fourth when the Saints would tie the score. Will Solomon had looked incredibly impressive in the first three frames, but a clutch hit allowed the tying run to score. Willie Argo started the inning with a single, but Solomon retired the next two hitters, giving the impression that St. Paul would once again walk away empty-handed. However, Sam Maus took a 2-2 pitch and drilled it for a double to tie the score.
It would stay tied into the sixth in an incredible pitching duel between the two starters. Errors opened the door for the St. Paul Saints to take the lead, however. Argo started the sixth by reaching on an error. Two batters later Breland Almadova singled, moving Argo to third on an error by the shortstop. The error allowed Almadova to reach second. Two batters later a wild pitch scored Argo and Hamburger had the lead.
It would stay 2-1 in a real nail-biter as every pitch had a playoff atmosphere to it. Hamburger only allowed two singles from the third through the seventh, and one of those was erased by a double-play. In the eighth the RedHawks looked like they really had something going. Bryan Johns singled to start the frame and moved to second on a walk. That put two on with no one out. However, Hamburger continued to do what he has done all season; make big pitches when needed. The Saints starter got three fly ball outs to end the threat and keep his team up by one.
In the top of the ninth, his offense would give him some insurance. Patrick Mincey retired the first batter of the inning, but Alonzo Harris took the first pitch he saw and ripped it for his team leading 11th homer of the year.
In the bottom half of the inning, Hamburger would give up a two-out double, but would get the final out on a ground out to close out his league leading fourth complete game of the season. For Hamburger (9-0) it was another outstanding performance. The right-hander allowed 7-hits, a walk, and 1-earned run. He struck out 7, lowering his ERA to 2.59, third best among pitchers still in the league. In 11 appearances this season he has made 10 quality starts.
The final contest of the four-game series is tomorrow night. Alec Crawford (1-3, 8.89) will go for the St. Paul Saints against RHP Richie Mirowski (1-1, 1.10). First pitch is 1:00 PM.
By Robert Pannier