Shawn Blackwell Extends Saints Losing Streak to 3; Canaries Win 9-4
After a promising start to the team’s six-game homestand, the St. Paul Saints dropped their third in a row, this time to Sioux Falls Canaries, 9-4. Shawn Blackwell looked quite sharp for Sioux Falls only allowing four hits through the first five innings on his way to his fourth win of the season.
Saints starter Alec Crawford looked great through the first two frames, but his second time through the order was not smooth sailing. In the bottom of the third, Blake Schmit singled down the right field line with one out and moved to second on a single by Darwin Perez. Next up was Jake Taylor who singled to center to score Schmitt. An error by the center fielder allowed both runners to move up, scoring Perez to make it 2-0.
In the fifth, the Sioux Falls Canaries extended their lead to six. A single by Schmit began the inning and he then stole second and moved to third on an error on the throw by the catcher. A walk to Jake Taylor put runners at the corners with one out, and David Bergin followed with a double that scored both Schmit and Taylor. Two batters later, J.C. Linares recorded his first hit of the season, a two-run homer over the left field wall to make it 6-0.
Kody Knaus took over for the Saints in the sixth, but Sioux Falls was able to add to their lead. A one out single by Ethan Chapman was followed by a double from Schmit that scored Chapman to make it 7-0. Perez then singled and Schmit scored on an error by the center fielder to make it an eight-run lead. Bergin’s RBI single plated the final run of the inning and the lead looked insurmountable.
In the bottom half of the sixth the Saints finally got on the board. Nate Hanson singled with one out and Angelo Songco followed by drawing a walk. Two batters later Willie Argo took a called first strike and then drilled his fifth homer of the year deep over the left field wall. That made it 9-3.
In the bottom of the seventh the Saints would get one more run. Back-to-back singles by Aaron Gretz and Alonzo Harris put two on with one out. Tanner Vavra then grounded into a fielder’s choice. The relay throw to first was wild, allowing Gretz to score on the error.
That would be it for Blackwell (4-3). He pitched quite well, going 6.2-innings, allowing 8-hits, a walk and 4-earned runs. He struck out 8 and made only really had one bad pitch for the night.
In the eighth, the Saints would add one more highlight to a night that didn’t have many. Gene Escat relieved Knaus and gave up back-to-back walks to start the inning. Bergin then flied to right field. Chad Christensen appeared to have trapped the sinking liner, but the umpires ruled it a catch. Both runners were running on the play and were easily tripled up. That was on the second triple play in Saints history (July 31, 2012).
Schmit finished 3-5 with 3-runs and an RBI. Perez was 3-4 with 2-runs and Bergin was 2-5 with a run and 3-RBI. Harris had 3-hits for hits for the Saints, as did Gretz, who also scored a run.
It is an early afternoon affair tomorrow. Mark Hamburger (6-0, 3.19) goes for the St. Paul Saints looking to end the losing skid. Misael Siverio (3-3, 5.83) will go for the Sioux Falls Canaries. Game time is 1:05.
By Robert Pannier