Robert Coe Pitches, Ryan Lashley Hits St. Paul Saints to 11th Straight Victory
On a night when the St. Paul Saints set a franchise record for attendance (299,000-plus), Robert Coe was setting his own kind of mark. The Saints right-hander dominated at home again, this time shutting down the Winnipeg Goldeyes for 7.1 innings, and Ryan Lashley was the key to all three Saints rallies as St. Paul won 7-1.
Coe entered the game 7-3, and was looking to join the other four members of the starting staff by earning his eighth win of the season. There are 12 pitchers in the American Association with at least eight victories, and five of those are Saints players. It is a truly remarkable stat.
The Saints starter took the mound looking to continue his dominance from his previous start. On August 5, Coe allowed a franchise low one-hit against the Lincoln Saltdogs, and early on it didn’t look like Winnipeg was going to muster much more than that.
Through the first six innings of the game, the right-hander allowed just one hit and a single walk. The hit came with two outs in the second, and he issued a lead-off walk to Reggie Abercrombie in the fifth. Abercrombie would move to second on an error, and the Goldeyes looked like they really had something going, but a double-play was followed by a ground out to end the threat.
While Coe was masterful on the mound, Lashley was staking his pitcher to a lead. Matt Jackson started for Winnipeg, and he was looking just as dominant through the first three frames. Jackson retired the first eight Saints hitters of the game, with Anthony Phillips being the first hitter to reach with a two-out walk in the third.
In the fourth St. Paul finally got to the Winnipeg starter. Vinnny DiFazio singled with one out, and Angelo Songco followed with a single that moved DiFazio to second. Two batters later Joey Paciorek walked and the bases were loaded with two outs. That brought Lashley to the plate, who took two quick strikes before working the count full. The next pitch he lined to the wall in right-center bringing all three runners home and staking the St. Paul Saints to a 3-0.
In the top of the seventh Coe’s run finally came to an end. The right-hander retired the first two hitters of the inning, but a walk to Reggie Abercrombie kept the inning alive. Brad Boyer was the next hitter and he hit the first pitch from the Saints starter for a double just out of the reach of Mike Kvasnicka that allowed Abercrombie to score. That narrowed the lead to just two-runs.
In typical fashion, the St. Paul Saints responded with three runs in the bottom of the seventh, and Lashley got the rally started. He led off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice by Steve Nikorak. Anthony Phillips singled to put runners at the corners with just one out. Next up came Alonzo Harris, who doubled down the line in left field, bringing both runners home to make it 5-1. Dan Kaczrowski’s single up the middle scored Harris and it was a five-run Saints lead.
In the eighth Coe (8-3) gave up a single before retiring the first out of the inning. Manager George Tsamis then turned to Mike Zouzalik who retired both batters he faced to end the frame. For Coe he went 7 innings, allowed 3 hits, 3 walks, and a run. He also struck out 5 and lowered his ERA to 2.77.
In the bottom of the eighth the Saints added one more run. Mike Kvasnicka doubled to begin the inning and moved to third on a ground out. Lashley brought Kvasnicka home with a sacrifice fly and it was 7-1.
In the ninth the Saints sent Alex Sogard in to finish out the game and he allowed a lone single, but a 4-6-3 double-play eliminated the runner and ended the game. It was the Saints 11th straight win and moved their magic number to clinch the division to just two games.
Lashley finished 2-3 with a run and 4 RBI. Kaczrowski went 2-4.
By Robert Pannier