Milkmen Rally to Down Saints in Ninth
FRANKLIN, WI (August 14, 2020) – It’s the hurdle the St. Paul Saints just can’t seem to overcome: getting above .500. It was all there for them as they were one strike away from climbing above the mark for the first time since the third day of the season. Unfortunately, Christian Correa hit an 0-2 pitch over the left field wall for a two-run homer over as the Saints lost 4-3 to the Milwaukee Milkmen on Friday night at Franklin Field.
With the Saints leading 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth they handed the ball to Jameson McGrane, who leads the league with 12 saves and had not blown a save when asked the get three outs. He walked the leadoff batter Jose Sermo who was then removed for pinch runner Aaron Hill. Dylan Tice attempted to sacrifice Hill over, but popped the bunt up to third baseman Drew Stankiewicz. Hill then stole second, but McGrane fanned Zach Nehrir for the second out of the inning. With the count 0-2 on Correa, the .214 hitter drilled a fastball over the left field wall for the game winning home run.
The Saints squandered another superbly pitched game from Mike Devine, who entered the night fifth in the league in ERA, but was just 1-2. Devine struggled in the first, but then settled into a groove. In the first, Brett Vertigan led off with a single to left and that was followed by single from David Washington that sent Vertigan to third. Washington, who got caught in a rundown after taking too wide of a turn at first, managed to avoid a tag at second and slid in safely. A sacrifice fly from Adam Brett Walker gave the Milkmen a 1-0 lead as Washington took third. Logan Trowbridge made it 2-0 with an RBI single to left.
The Saints wasted little time tying the game in the second as Josh Allen led off with a double to right. A scary moment occurred when John Silviano lined a single off the pitching arm of starter Zach Hartman. He had to leave the game and Taylor Ahearn took over. With one out Mitch Ghelfi made it 2-1 with a sacrifice fly to left. Drew Stankiewicz tied it with an RBI double to right-center.
It stayed that way until the fifth when Mikey Reynolds untied it with a solo shot to left, his second of the season, giving the Saints a 3-2 lead.
In the bottom of the inning Devine pitched out of a first and second no out jam. After Mason Davis led off with a single, Vertigan reached on a fielder’s choice at first as first baseman John Silviano’s throw pulled Nate Samson off the bag at second. Devine would strike out Washington and get Walker to ground into an inning ending double play. Devine went 6.1 innings allowing two runs on six hits while striking out five. He has now gone 22.0 consecutive innings without issuing a walk.
The loss is the first for the Saints when leading after seven innings. They were 12-0 when leading after seven and 16-0 when leading entering the ninth.
The same two teams meet in game two of the three-game series on Saturday night at 6:35 p.m. The Saints send RHP Nick Belzer (1-3, 5.87) to the mound against Milkmen RHP Drew Hutchison (0-0, 9.00). The game can be heard on KFAN Plus, 96.7 FM.
By Sean Aronson, St. Paul Saints