Saints Mark Hamburger Proves to Be Choice Cut; Blanks T-Bones 4-1
The Kansas City T-Bones were riding high off a huge ninth inning Saturday night, where they battled back from two down to score four and win 6-4. It was the kind of game that brings momentum, but not on this day, as the St. Paul Saints Mark Hamburger dominated the T-Bones in a 4-1 Saints victory, coming just one out away from the shutout.
This was a close pitcher’s duel for the first two-thirds of the game. Kansas City starter Casey Barnes pitched well through the first four innings, allowing just three hits. Unfortunately for him, one of those hits was a home run by Willie Argo to lead off the second.
Argo had an especially huge game. Not only did he hit the homerun, but he had two great catches out in left field, one where he made a long run before catching the ball just a few feet short of the wall. That was a huge catch, and he homered in his very next at-bat.
In the fifth the St. Paul Saints would extend their lead. Aaron Gretz began the frame with a double down the line in right. A sacrifice bunt moved him to third and Nate Hanson’s RBI sacrifice fly scored the St. Paul catcher to make it 2-0.
In the seventh, the Saints added two runs to give Hamburger some cushion. Breland Almadova walked with one out, and Hanson followed with a towering drive that hit off the top of the wall in right-center field for a home run. The shot was his third homer of the year.
While the team was putting up runs, the story of this game was Hamburger. The right-hander stymied the Kansas City T-Bones lineup virtually all game. In only three innings that the visitors even get runners on base, and that came in the fifth, sixth, and ninth innings when he gave up two singles in all three frames.
Hamburger retired the first 11 batters he faced in the game before back-to-back singles with two outs in the fifth ended the perfect game. However, the inning ended when a Hamburger pitch bounced in the dirt. Steve Swingle, who was on second, broke for third, but Aaron Gretz quickly retrieved the ball and made a great throw to gun him down at third and the inning was over.
In the sixth, the Saints starter gave up back-to-back singles with one out. Completely unfazed, Hamburger retired the next two hitters on pop outs to maintain the shutout.
From there he just cruised, retiring the next 10 batters before Jake Blackwood singled with two outs in the ninth. A base hit by Anthony Gallas moved Blackwood to third, putting runners at the corners with two outs. The next batter was last night’s hero for the T-Bones, Tyler Massey. Hamburger worked him to two strikes, but a wild pitch allowed the run to score, bringing the shutout to an end. He then got Massey to ground to first to end the game, and the St. Paul Saints were the winners, 4-1.
Mark Hamburger (3-0) was absolutely spectacular on this night. He allowed six-hits in the nine-inning complete game, walking no-one and striking out 6. Of his 121-pitches, 86 went for strikes. It was a truly dominate performance that sent the Saints record crowd of 10,443 home extremely happy.
Nate Hanson had a hit and 3-RBI for St. Paul. Almadova was 2-3 with a run. Not Kansas City player had more than one hit.
The St. Paul Saints now head out onto the road for a 14-day, 14-game trip. They travel onto Joplin to start a four-game series Monday. Robert Coe (2-0) will go for the Saints.
By Robert Pannier