Threes a Charm as Robert Coe Sets St. Paul Saints Record
It took him three opportunities, but Robert Coe became the winningest pitcher in St. Paul Saints’ franchise history Friday night, earning his 41st career victory. The win was made possible by Nate Hanson, who drove in five for the second straight night and helped the Saints to maintain their 7.5-game lead over the Winnipeg Goldeyes.
The Saints jumped out in front in the bottom of the third when they plated three-runs. Brady Burzynski started the inning by drawing a walk off of Ray Hanson. Breland Almadova followed with a single and two batters later Alonzo Harris reached on an error to load the bases with one out. That brought Hanson to the plate, who drilled a double into left that brought all three runners home to make it 3-0.
In the third, the St. Paul Saints would extend their lead and it would be Hanson again who came up big. The Saints third baseman led off the inning and took a 2-1 pitch from the Canaries starter and drilled it over the left field fence for his seventh homerun of the season.
Coe breezed through the first three innings, only allowing a one-out walk in the third, while striking out four of the first ten batters he faced. He looked sharp but got into a little trouble in the fourth.
Darwin Perez singled to start the frame and he moved to third when All-Star Blake Schmit doubled. Coe then struck out David Bergin, but walked J.C. Linares to load the bases. He then struck out Cameron Monger and it looked like he may get out of the frame without any damage, but B.J. Guinn delivered a clutch two-run single to make it 4-2.
St. Paul would cling to that lead as Coe labored through some tough frames following the fourth inning runs. In the top of the sixth he walked two with one out and Caleb Thielbar came onto relieve. He induced a double-play to keep the two-run lead intact and his offense would respond for him right away.
In the bottom half of the inning, Almadova singled with one out and then stole second and third. Harris walked to put runners at the corners with two outs, and that brought Hanson to the plate again. On the first pitch to the Saints slugger, Harris took off and stole second. The catcher attempted to throw Harris out, and Almadova broke for home, stealing his way around the bases for a manufactured run. Hanson then grounded a single to score Harris and it was 6-2 Saints.
Thielbar cruised through the seventh, and Benji Waite came on in the eighth, retiring the Sioux Falls Canaries to keep it 6-2. In the ninth, the visitors got an unearned run off of closer Ryan Rodebaugh when an error allowed Ethan Chapman to score. That would be all the Canaries could muster however, and the Saints won 6-3.
Coe (9-2) pitched 5.1-innings, allowing 5-hits and 5-walks. He struck out 6. Hanson (0-5) took the loss for Sioux Falls.
Nate Hanson was 4-4 with a run scored and 5-RBI. In his two games since the birth of his child, the St. Paul third baseman is 7-8 with 2-runs scored, 3-doubles, 2-HRs, and 10-RBI. Almadova was 2-3 with 2-runs scored and 3-stolen bases. Blake Schmit was 3-5 with a run for the Sioux Falls Canaries.
Game 3 of the four-game set is Saturday night. Kris Regas (4-6, 5.56) will get the start for the Sioux Falls Canaries. Dan Johnson (3-2, 4.13) will take the hill for the St. Paul Saints. Game time is 7:05.
By Robert Pannier