Saints Create Own Fireworks to Down Explorers, 12-1
Mark Hamburger took the hill for the St. Paul Saints on Tuesday, looking to snap the team’s three-game losing streak and win his American Association leading eighth game of the year. Hamburger was absolutely dominating on the evening, allowing the Sioux City Explorers just one-run, but it was the offense that grabbed the show, putting up their own fireworks on the Fourth of July, as the team hit three homers in the 12-1 victory.
The Saints got a run in the first to take the lead. Brady Burzynski singled to start the game, but was replaced on the base paths when Tanner Vavra hit into a fielder’s choice. Nate Hanson followed by grounding a single into left before Brady Shoemaker walked to load the bases. Vavra scored on a sacrifice fly by Anthony Gallas to make it 1-0.
It would stay that way until the fourth when the Saints would extend their lead to four. Gallas led off the inning with his 10th homer of the year. Two batters late Kes Carter drilled his second home run of the year, and the fireworks were just beginning. Maxx Garrett followed with a double and, two batters later, Burzynski drove him home with a single to make it 4-0.
The St. Paul Saints took complete command of this game in the fifth. Shoemaker doubled with one out and scored on a triple by Gallas. Tony Thomas followed with a base hit that scored Gallas before Carter singled. That ended the night for Cody Forsythe, as Keith Picht came on. He yielded a two-run double to Kristoffersen that scored Carter and Thomas to make it 8-0.
Mark Hamburger (8-1) was absolutely brilliant early on. The right-hander allowed four-hits through the first three frames, but made the pitches when he needed to get outs. He then retired the side in order in the fourth and fifth before Sioux City was finally able to get a run against him in the sixth.
Jayce Ray walked to start the inning and LeVon Washington drew the base on balls two batters later. A wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position before Dylan Kelly blooped a double into center to score Ray. Washington had to hold initially to see if the ball would drop in, giving him a late break that proved to be costly. He was thrown out at the plate to keep the lead 8-1.
In the seventh, St. Paul scored four more runs to put this game away. Nate Hanson led off the inning by drilling his seventh homer of the season to extend the lead back to eight. Shoemaker and Gallas followed with back-to-back singles before Thomas walked to load the bases. A single by Carter scored Shoemaker and an RBI single by Garrett brought home Gallas. Kristoffersen grounded out to score Thomas with the final run of the game.
Hamburger went 7-innings, allowing 5-hits and a run. He struck out 6. Robert Coe returned from the inactive list, tossing two-scoreless innings to finish out the game.
Kes Carter was 3-5 with 2-runs and 2-RBI for the Saints. Anthony Gallas moved his average to .362, going 3-5 with 3-runs and 3-RBI. Brady Burzynski and Nate Hanson also had 3-hits apiece. Nate Samson, Dylan Kelly, and Josh Vitters each had 2-hits for Sioux City.
The rubber match of this series is tomorrow. RHP Benji Waite (2-0, 2.00) will go to the mound for St. Paul against the Explorers RHP Kurt Heyer (2-4, 4.95). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.
By Robert Pannier