Saints Bullpen Rallies Team to Victory, 4-3
ST. PAUL, MN (September 8, 2020) – Just because playoff positions weren’t on the line didn’t mean St. Paul Saints manager George Tsamis was going to let his pitchers hit and run the bases. Unfortunately, circumstances dictated otherwise as two position players left the game. Reliever Aaron Brown got to hit, Sunday’s starting pitcher Mike Devine scored the tying run, but it was a position player, John Silviano, that showed them both how it was done with a big home run that ultimately won the game for the Saints, 4-3, over the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks on Tuesday night at CHS Field in front of 1,467.
Saints starter Ryan Zimmerman was solid, but got touched up for three long balls, all solo shots. In the first, Player of the Year candidate Drew Ward, crushed a solo shot to right, his 16th of the season, giving the RedHawks a 1-0 lead.
In the fifth the RedHawks went back-to-back as Alex Boxwell, his fourth, and Brennan Metzger, his fifth, gave the RedHawks a 3-0 lead. Zimmerman went 6.0 innings allowing three runs on seven hits while striking out six.
In the bottom of the fifth the Saints tied the game, but not before losing two separate position players. Chesny Young led off with a walk and Nate Samson singled to left putting runners at first and second. Catcher Mitch Ghelfi, who took a foul ball off the mask in the third, was pinch hit for by Alonzo Harris, who ended up striking out. Troy Alexander followed by being hit with a 91 mile per hour fastball in the helmet and had to leave the game. The Saints were forced to put Devine in to pinch run for him. Drew Stankiewicz’ two-run single to center got the Saints within 3-2. With two outs, Max Murphy hit a ground ball to the left of the third baseman Ward that tipped off his glove and went into shallow left and Devine raced all the way around from second to tie the game.
The Saints had an opportunity to take the lead in the sixth. With two outs Young singled, Samson doubled him to third and Harris was intentionally walked to load the bases. That brought up pinch hitter, reliever Aaron Brown. Brown was a third round pick out of Pepperdine by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2014 as a position player. Brown drew the count to 3-1, but then fouled out to end the inning.
That didn’t affect Brown’s pitching as he entered the game as a reliever and tossed 2.0 scoreless innings. He proved to be the winner thanks in part to Silviano.
Leading off the bottom of the eighth Silviano drilled a solo shot to left, his 13th of the season, that proved to be the eventual game winner.
Jameson McGrane pitched a perfect ninth to pick up his 15th save of the season.
The same two teams meet in the second game of the three-game series on Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m. The Saints send RHP Matt Solter (4-4, 3.93) to the mound against RedHawks RHP Bradin Hagens (4-3, 3.48). The game can be seen on the Saints Cable Network, cable access channels in and around the Twin Cities, streamed on aabaseball.tv, and heard on KFAN Plus, 96.7 FM.
by Sean Aronson, St. Paul Saints