Saints Hang on to Split Double-Header with Goldeyes
If there is one thing that the St. Paul Saints have learned it is that these Winnipeg Goldeyes don’t quit. After being shutout in Game 1 of their double-header, the Saints built a six-run lead in Game 2 before hanging on to win 7-6. That kept the Saints 5.5-games ahead in the North Division of the American Association.
The first contest saw left-hander Kevin McGovern dominate the Saints for the second time this season. McGovern breezed through the seven-inning affair, allowing just 2-hits and 2-walks, in becoming the first pitcher to shutout the Saints this season.
McGovern was opposed by Eric Veglahn, and both pitchers kept it scoreless through the first. In the second, Winnipeg jumped out a 1-0 lead. The Saints starter retired the first batter of the inning, bringing Casio Grider to the plate. He worked the count full before blasting his ninth homer of the season.
In the fifth, the Goldeyes would extend their lead to four. Grider started the inning with a walk and moved to second on a sacrifice. Next up was Carlton Tanabe, who singled to left scoring the speedy Grider. Two batters later, Josh Romanski crushed his ninth homer of the season to make it 4-0. That gave Romanski 8-RBI in the first three-games of the series.
That would be plenty enough support for McGovern (6-3) who was spectacular on the night. He tossed his first shutout of the season and threw 85-pitches in the complete game victory.
Despite the two homeruns, Veglahn (3-4) pitched a solid game for the Saints. The lefty allowed just 3-hits, 3-walks, and 4-earned runs. He struck out 2.
Game 2 of the double-header would look very much like the Game 1 of Tuesday night’s double-header. The Saints jumped out to a large lead, only to see the Goldeyes battle back. The elements may have save the day, as rain got it called after six innings, and St. Paul won 7-6.
In the first, St. Paul took a 3-0 lead. Alonzo Harris singled to start the game and stole second base. Edwin Carl retired the next two hitters, but Dan Johnson walked to keep the inning alive and the hot-hitting Nate Hanson walked to load the bases. The third walk in a row, this time to Tony Caldwell, scored Harris and Bryson Myles’ two-run double made it a three-run Saints lead.
In the second, the visitors extended their lead to four. Breland Almadova started the inning with a single and moved to second on a wild pitch. A ground ball by Harris moved him to third and Tanner Vavra drove Almadova home with a ground out. That made it 4-0.
Robert Coe had kept Winnipeg off the scoreboard through the first two-innings, but in the third the Goldeyes would finally get on the board, thanks to Willie Cabrera. Maikol Gonzalez walked with one out and two batters later Cabrera drilled his 16th homer of the season. That gave the Goldeyes outfielder four homers in his last five-games and three HRs in the first four-games of this series.
The Saints got those runs right back in the top of the fourth. Myles walked to start the frame and moved to second on a single by Aaron Gretz. Almadova then laid down a perfect bunt to move both runners into scoring position. Harris followed with a single that scored Myles and Vavra followed Harris’ hit with a sacrifice fly that brought home Gretz. That made it 6-2.
A run in the sixth extended the Saints lead to five and wound up being the difference in the game. Almadova walked to start the inning and then stole second base. He scored on a single to center by Tony Thomas and it was 7-1.
The game looked well in hand, but the bottom of the sixth saw the Goldeyes rally. Reggie Abercrombie started the inning with a single and moved to second on a walk to Romanski. Ryan Rodebaugh relieved Coe, but the rally was not to be quashed that easily. David Rohm singled to score Abercrombie and Wes Darvill followed with a single to load the bases. Two batters later Maikol Gonzalez tripled to the wall in right and all three runners came into score. That made it 7-6. Rodebaugh retired the final out of the inning, but the lead was razor thin.
Then the rains came. The game was called after a long delay with the St. Paul Saints being the 7-6 winner.
Coe (10-2) earned the victory. Carl (8-6) took the loss. Harris was 2-4 with a run and an RBI. Myles was 1-2 with a run and 2-RBI. Gonzalez was 1-3 with a run and 3-RBI for the Goldeyes.
The final game of this five-game set is Thursday morning. The St. Paul Saints will send Dan Johnson (4-2, 3.41) to the hill to face Mikey O’Brien (9-4, 4.64). Game time is 11:00.
By Robert Pannier