Saints Hold Off Canaries for 5-4 Victory
SIOUX FALLS, SD (August 26, 2020) – The St. Paul Saints and Sioux Falls Canaries have met 20 times this season and nothing has been decided between the two. In another tight contest the Saints never trailed and hung on to win 5-4, snapping their three-game losing streak. The teams have now split their 20 games against each other as the Saints improved to 24-23 and are 2.0 games out of the top spot in the league and will be no worse than 2.0 back of a playoff spot, depending on the final score of the Winnipeg Goldeyes/Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks game, with 13 to go.
Despite leaving 14 men on base, the Saints did just enough to squeak out a win and they got on the board in the second. Chesny Young led off with a walk and Nate Samson singled him to second. Mitch Ghelfi loaded the bases with a bunt single. Drew Stankiewicz’ sacrifice fly gave the Saints a 1-0 lead. A wild pitch scored Samson giving the Saints a 2-0 lead.
The Saints had their ace on the mound, Mike Devine, and he gave them another quality start. The Canaries got to him in the second on a solo homer by Mike Hart, his sixth of the season, making it 2-1.
In the third Max Murphy gave the Saints a 3-1 lead with a solo homer to right-center, his fifth of the season.
The Canaries once again got a run closer in the fifth when Andrew Ely led off with a double and, with one out, scored on a double from Damek Tomscha cutting the Saints lead to 3-2.
In the sixth the Saints took another two-run lead as Alonzo Harris reached on a one out single. Murphy followed with a walk. Chris Chinea flew out to right and Harris tagged up to third. Right fielder Clint Coulter’s throw to third went into foul territory allowing Harris to score making it 4-2.
In the bottom of the seventh Tomscha made it 4-3 with a solo home run, his eighth of the season. Devine went 7.0 innings allowing three runs on 10 hits while walking one and striking out seven.
For the fourth time in the game the Saints built a two-run lead getting a big insurance run in the eighth. Murphy led off the inning by reaching on a fielding error by the shortstop Ely. He stole second and scored on a two out double by Young making it 5-3.
Brian Glowicki had his scoreless streak end at 14.1 innings when Coulter led off the bottom of the inning with a solo homer, his ninth of the season, cutting the Saints lead to one.
In the bottom of the ninth the Saints used two pitchers to get three outs. Lefty Aaron Brown retired the left-hand hitting Ely on a ground out to short. Jameson McGrane then struck out Lago before walking Tomscha. McGrane would fan Jabari Henry to end the game and pick up his league leading 14th save of the season.
The finale of the three-game series is Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. at Sioux Falls Stadium. The Saints send RHP Nick Belzer (2-3, 4.97) against Canaries RHP Alex Boshers (0-0, 9.82). The game can be heard on KFAN Plus, 96.7 FM.
By Sean Aronson, St. Paul Saints