St. Paul Saints Bullpen Provides Outstanding Relief in 6-5 Victory
The St. Paul Saints headed back to the road Friday, starting a six-game road trip in Winnipeg against the Goldeyes. The Saints jumped out to a 4-1 lead, only to see Winnipeg battle back to make it 5-4 before the St. Paul bullpen shutdown the Goldeyes for most of the rest of the game in the 6-5 victory.
Neither team scored in the first, but in the second the Saints jumped out in front 1-0. Angelo Songco started the inning by drilling his seventh homer of the season to give St. Paul the lead.
In the bottom of the third the Goldeyes got it back. An injury to Saints shortstop Tanner Vavra led to a whole lot of defensive changes for the team. Tanner Murphy began the inning with a walk and Adam Heisler doubled to make it second and third with no one out. Winnipeg had the chance to really blow this game open and take the lead, but Saints starter John Straka remained cool, getting a fly out that scored Murphy to tie the game. He then walked Josh Romanski, but induced a double-play grounder to end the inning and keep the score tied at one.
St. Paul took the lead right back in the top of the fourth. Songco doubled to start the inning and moved to third on a single by Tony Thomas. Thomas then stole second and scored when Tony Caldwell singled. Songco also scored on the single, and it was 3-1 St. Paul.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Winnipeg Goldeyes got two of those runs back. Heisler singled and stole second. Straka was able to retire the next two hitters, but David Rohm homered, his first of the season, to make it a 4-3 game.
In the sixth inning, both teams scored a run. Aaron Gretz delivered a two-out double to keep the inning alive. Breland Almadova singled to move Gretz to third, and Brady Burzynski, who replaced Vavra, singled to score Gretz.
In the bottom half of the inning, Reggie Abercrombie drilled a Straka pitch to the wall in center, and legged it out into a triple. Cody Wheeler replaced the Saints starter and gave up a single to Wes Darvil that scored Abercrombie to make it a one-run again.
From there the St. Paul bullpen took over. Wheeler pitched a shutout inning, and Caleb Thielbar pitched two perfect innings to keep the Goldeyes from adding to their score.
In the ninth, the St. Paul Saints added an insurance run. Burzynski doubled with one out and scored when Songco delivered his third hit of the game, a single to center to make it 6-4.
Ryan Rodebaugh came on in the ninth looking to close it out. He gave up a solo homer to Heisler but retired the side for his seventh save of the season. Straka (4-1) earned the win.
Heisler finished 3-5 with 2-runs scored and an RBI for the Winnipeg Goldeyes. Songco was 3-5 with 2-runs and 2-RBI. Gretz and Burzynski also had three hits apiece.
By Robert Pannier