Mark Hamburger to the Rescue, Leading Saints to 2-1 Victory
After the pitching staff had been battered in the first two games of the series, the St. Paul Saints needed a big outing from their ace, and Mark Hamburger came to the rescue, blanking the Lincoln Saltdogs through eight-innings in the 2-1 victory. Hamburger tossed his fifth complete game of the season and came within an out of his second shutout. Kes Carter and Mitch Delfino each had 2-hits.
This was a great pitching matchup between Hamburger and Saltdogs starter Shairon Martis. For the first five innings of the game the two matched each other pitch-for-pitch and neither offense could get on the board.
Each team had their best opportunity to score in the third. Maxx Garrett led off the inning for St. Paul with a walk and moved to second when Jon Kristoffersen beat out a bunt attempt for a base hit. Two batters later a ground out moved both runners into scoring position before Nate Hanson walked to load the bases. With two down, cleanup hitter Anthony Gallas came to the plate, but Martis got him to ground out to end the threat.
In the bottom half of the inning, Ivan Marin singled with one down and moved to second following a walk to Cesar Valera. With two on and two down, Hamburger got Curt Smith to fly out to end the threat.
In the sixth, the St. Paul Saints were finally able to break through. Kes Carter led off the inning with a double down the line in right and scored when Delfino lined a base hit into the gap that brought Carter around to score. That made it 1-0.
Hamburger protected that lead like a lioness protecting her cubs, retiring the side in order in the sixth and seventh.
In the ninth, his team would give him a little breathing room and that proved to be critical. Tim Colwell walked to start the inning and moved to second on a sacrifice. Hanson then grounded into a fielder’s choice where both runners were safe to put runners at the corners with just one out. That brought Gallas to the plate, who ripped a single into left-center that scored Colwell to extend the lead to two.
Hamburger came out for the ninth, and quickly retired the first two batters of the inning. However, Randolph Oduber made this a one-run game when he hit his team-leading 12th home run of the season to make it 2-1. The Saints starter was unfazed, getting a fly out to end the game. Mark Hamburger (11-3) allowed 9-hits and a run in his American Association leading fifth complete game of the season. He struck out 2.
Mitch Delfino was 2-5 with an RBI for St. Paul. Kes Carter was also 2-5 with a run scored. Ivan Marin, Randolph Oduber, and Cesar Valera each had 2-hits for the Saltdogs.
The Saints are off tomorrow before starting a four-game series against the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks Thursday night.
By Robert Pannier