Saints Tie Season-High in Runs, Down Explorers 13-1
A night after the St. Paul Saints suffered a huge blow when slugger Brady Shoemaker hurt his shoulder, the team responded with their best offensive performance of the season, rapping out 17-hits in the 13-1 victory over the Sioux City Explorers. Ryan Zimmerman tossed six solid innings, allowing just one-run, and Breeland Almadova scored 3-runs and drove in 2 in the win. That moved the Saints to 0.5 games out of first.
This was a scoreless affair until the third when the Explorers took the lead. Tony Campana led off the inning with a double and moved to third on a wild pitch. After Joe Bennie walked, All-Star Jayce Ray singled up the middle to score Campana to put Sioux City on top 1-0.
Hobbs Johnson started for the home team and was breezing through the first four frames, but in the fifth things turned quickly. With one down, Breeland Almadova blasted his fourth home run of the season over the left field wall to tie the score. Johnson retired Nate Hanson, but Anthony Gallas kept the inning alive with a single into left before Kes Carter ripped his 10th homer of the year over the wall in left to put the Saints on top 3-1.
In the sixth, St. Paul extended their lead to five. With one down, Jon Kristoffersen reached on an error. Two batters later, Almadova singled into right field, putting runners at the corners with two down. That brought Hanson to the plate, who crushed a shot over the left field wall for a three-run homer, his ninth of the season, to make it 6-1.
In the top of the seventh, the St. Paul Saints blew this game open. Three consecutive hits by Carter, Mitch Delfino, and Ben Buerkle started the frame, loading the bases with no one out. That brought Maxx Garrett to the plate, who hit a pop up that got lost in the lights. The ball dropped in for a hit as Carter came home to make it 7-1. Kristoffersen followed with a groundout that scored Delfino, and Colwell then grounded a single into right field that scored Buerkle to make it 9-1.
Bubby Rossman came on to pitch for Sioux City, but the inning did not end quickly. Almadova grounded a ball to short that he beat out for a single, scoring Garrett. With two down, Gallas hit a grounder to short, but the throw to first was wild and two more runs came around to score to extend the lead to 11. Back-to-back walks loaded the bases before Buerkle was hit by a pitch for the second time in the contest. That plated Gallas to make it 13-1.
After giving up the third inning run, Ryan Zimmerman (5-4) would keep the Explorers off the board for his final three innings of work. The right-hander went 6-innings, allowing 7-hits, 5-walks, and a run. He struck out 6. Ken Frosch came on to toss two scoreless innings of relief giving him 13 consecutive scoreless innings, and Chandler Hawkins tossed a perfect ninth to finish the game off.
Every player in the St. Paul Saints lineup scored at least one-run in the contest, led by Breeland Almadova who scored 3-runs, had 3-hits and drove in 2. Nate Hanson was 3-6 with a run and 3-RBI. Kes Carter was 3-5 with 2-runs and 2-RBI. Each had a home run as well. Tony Campana and Jayce Ray were both 3-4. Ray had the team’s RBI and Campana scored the lone run.
The Saints now travel to Lincoln to take on the Saltdogs in a three-game series. Game 1 is scheduled for 2:05 on Sunday.
By Robert Pannier