Max Murphy Homers Twice, Saints Win, 14-3
For nearly a month the St. Paul Saints offense lagged behind the teams pitching. Over the last week, however, the offense has let it be known the pitching staff doesn’t need to carry them any longer. For the second time in three games the Saints put up double-digit runs and Max Murphy once again led the charge. The Saints destroyed Sioux Falls Canaries pitchers on Wednesday night winning 14-3 at Sioux Falls Stadium. The Saints improved to 21-10 on the season.
For the first six innings it looked as though pitching would carry the night. The Saints and Canaries traded runs in the first with Dan Motl singling with one out in the top of the first, stealing second, advancing to third on a throwing error by the catcher and scoring on Brady Shoemaker’s single.
In the bottom of the inning Brett Vertigan led off with a single and scored on a one out double by Kevin Taylor to tie the game at one.
In the third the Saints regained the lead as the Max Murphy show started. He doubled and scored on a one out single by Shoemaker. Shoemaker finished the night 2-4 with two RBI.
The Canaries took their only lead of the game in the fourth when Alay Lago extended his hitting streak to 17 with a double to left-center. Clint Coulter was hit by a pitch. Jordan Ebert tied the game with a single to center. Andrew Ely’s sacrifice moved the runners to second and third and Graham Low was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Vertigan gave the Canaries a 3-2 lead with a single to right, but Saints starter Jake Matthys got out of the bases loaded one out jam by getting Mitch Glasser to hit into a double play.
The Saints carried that momentum into the sixth to take the lead for good. Motl led off the inning with a single to left. With one out Burt Reynolds singled to left moving Motl to second. An RBI single by Jeremy Martinez tied the game at two. He has now reached base safely 25 consecutive games, the longest by any player in the league this season. After a pitching change, Devon Rodriguez greeted Luis Pollorena with an RBI single to left making it 4-3 Saints.
Saints reliever Jordan Jess shut down the top offense in the league by throwing 2.0 perfect innings of relief in the sixth and seventh which allowed the Saints offense to add to their one run lead.
In the seventh Murphy blasted a solo homer to left, his first of the night, third of the series, and ninth of the season, to make it 5-3.
In the eighth Josh Allen singled with two outs, stole second and scored on Chesny Young’s RBI single making it 6-3.
With the game still close Landon Beck pitched a scoreless eighth inning allowing just one hit and striking out one.
In the ninth the Saints blew it wide open with an eight-run inning, tying their highest output in an inning this season. Murphy led off the inning with a double and Motl knocked him home with a single. The league’s leading hitter, Motl went 3-6 with an RBI and three runs scored. Shoemaker drew a walk and Reynolds made it 8-3 with an RBI single. Martinez came through with an RBI double giving the Saints a 9-3 lead. An RBI groundout by Rodriguez made it 10-3. A wild pitch scored Martinez from third giving the Saints an 11-3 lead. After Allen and Young walked, two batters later Murphy came calling again with a three-run blast to left, his second of the night, fourth of the series and 10th of the season, to finish the scoring. Murphy finished the night 4-6 with two doubles, two home runs, four RBI and four runs scored. In the first three games of the series Murphy is now 10-16 with four doubles, four home runs, 11 RBI and nine runs scored.
Todd Van Steensel pitched a scoreless ninth and the Saints bullpen tossed 4.0 scoreless innings allowing one hit while striking out four.
The Saints have collected double-digit hits in five straight, their longest before this was two. They have scored 40 runs over the first three games of the series and collected 51 hits.
The same two teams meet in the finale of the four game series on Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. The Saints send RHP Ryan Zimmerman (1-1, 4.42) to the mound against Canaries RHP Mark Seyler (1-1, 5.16). The game can be heard on KFAN Plus, 96.7 FM.
By Sean Aronson