Ryan Zimmerman, Jason Creasy Throw Nothing But 0s in Saints Sweep
Entering Tuesday night’s double-header against the Texas AirHogs, the St. Paul Saints pitching staff had not been performing to the standards that Manager George Tsamis had become accustomed to over the last two seasons. However, the manager got two outstanding outings from Ryan Zimmerman and Jason Creasy, as the Saints swept the two-games, blanking the AirHogs in both contests as Tony Thomas drove in four in Game 1.
In the first contest, Ryan Zimmerman was making his second start for the Saints. He had been brilliant in his debut, and was even better in this performance. The right-hander gave up a single in the top of the first, then induced a double-play which started a run of eight-straight retired. Texas did not mount a threat until the fourth, when Ryan Wagner singled to start the frame and Levi Scott followed with a walk. A sacrifice moved both runners into scoring position with just one down, but Zimmerman struck out Jake Luce and then got Beamer Weems to ground out to end the threat.
The Saints took the lead in the top of the first when Danny Oh and Breland Almadova delivered back-to-back singles to start off the game. A fly ball moved Oh to third but Tyler Bremer got Brady Shoemaker to pop out. It looked like the two runners would be left, but the Saints deployed a play that they had great success with last year. Almadova broke for second and when the throw went to second, Oh raced home with the steal of home. That made it 1-0 St. Paul.
In the fourth, the Saints extended their lead to two. With one down, Tony Thomas hit his fifth homerun of the season to make it 2-0. That was his second consecutive game with a homer.
In the fifth, St. Paul put three-runs on the board. With one down, Almadova singled and then stole second. Nate Hanson walked and Bremer came out of the game. Jacob Morris relieved and walked Shoemaker to load the bases. The next hitter was Thomas, who drilled a double to the wall that cleared the bases and extended the lead to five.
That was plenty enough support for Ryan Zimmerman (2-0) on this evening. After retiring the final two batters of the fourth, the righty finished off the game by retiring eight of the next nine batters he faced. The only runner to reach base was Brian Ragira, who was erased on a double-play. Zimmerman went 7-innings, allowing 3-hits and 3-walks without a run being allowed. He struck out 4, while lowering his ERA to 0.69.
Tony Thomas finished the game 2-4 with a run and 4-RBI. Anthony Gallas was perfect at the plate, going 2-2 with 2-walks. Breland Almadova was 2-3 with a run scored. He also stole two-bases. Anthony Rondon had two of the AirHogs’ hits.
In the second game, it was Jason Creasy who took the hill and he tossed 6 shutout innings while striking out 8 to earn his second victory of the season. The Saints won this game despite only getting 3-hits, but took advantage of 7-walks.
St. Paul took the lead in the top of the first. Oh started the game by drawing a walk and scored when Almadova lined a ball into the gap and raced for third with a triple. Hanson grounded into a fielder’s choice that scored Almadova and it was 2-0 St. Paul.
Two-runs may not have seemed like much, but the way that Creasy was pitching it was plenty enough. The right-hander allowed a one-out hit in the bottom of the first and allowed a second hit in the third. That would be the last hit that the Saints starter would allow. Jason Creasy (2-2) went 6-innings, allowing 2-hits, 3-walks, and no runs. He was bringing the heat, striking out 8, including two in the first, third, and sixth. He retired 11 of the final 12 batters he faced.
Connor Little relieved in the seventh, and retired the side in order to complete the shutout.
In the sixth, St. Paul extended their lead to four. Shoemaker walked with one out and Thomas reached on an error. A wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position before Gallas walked. Shoemaker scored on a walk to Burzynski and Thomas scored on an error to make it 4-0.
Almadova was 2-4 with a run and an RBI. He had a double and a triple. Brady Burzynski was 1-1 with an RBI and 2-walks.
The final of this three-game set is tomorrow. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.
By Robert Pannier