Tony Caldwell, Alonzo Harris Lead St. Paul Saints 11-5 Victory
They say that the third time is a charm, and that proved to be true for St. Paul Saints starter Mark Hamburger. After two attempts to win his fifth game of the season, the right-hander finally won that all elusive Game No. 5, being backed by two homeruns from both Alonzo Harris and Tony Caldwell in the team’s 11-5 victory over the Winnipeg Goldeyes.
The Saints jumped out to the lead when Harris led off the game with his sixth homerun of the season. Up 1-0, Hamburger would find himself trailing after the first inning. In the bottom half of the first, Adam Heisler and Maikol Gonzalez led off with back-to-back singles. A catcher’s interference call against Josh Romanski loaded the bases and there was no one out. David Rohm followed with a fly ball to center where Heisler looked like he would score easily, but Breland Almadova made a perfect throw to the plate to nail Heisler for the double-play and keep it a one-run Saints lead. However, Jacob Rogers followed with a double that scored both runners and the Goldeyes were in front.
St. Paul responded right away in the top of the second to take back the lead, a lead they would not relinquish. Tony Thomas singled to start the frame and moved to second when Willie Argo walked. That brought Caldwell to the plate, who promptly deposited his third homer of the season over the left field wall to put the Saints back on top 4-2. Next up was Chad Christensen, who hit his first homerun since joining St. Paul and Nate Hanson would drive home the fifth run of the inning with an RBI single to make the score 6-2.
In the top of the third, St. Paul added to their lead. Argo led off the inning with a triple and came around to score when Caldwell followed with his fourth homer of the year and second of the game to make the score 8-2. With two outs in the inning, it was Alonzo Harris’ turn to go deep again. He took a 1-2 offering from the Goldeyes’ starter and drilled his seventh homerun of the season to make the score 9-2.
Following the two-run double by Rogers in the first, Hamburger got on a roll. He would retire the next 14 batters, totally shutting down the Winnipeg offense. He was really on, but in the sixth the Goldeyes were finally able to break the run and get back on the scoreboard. Gonzalez singled with one out and Romanski followed with a single that moved Gonzalez to second. Next up was Rohm, who hit his second homerun of the season to cut the deficit to just four-runs.
In the top of the eighth, the Saints would add one more insurance run. Almadova started the inning with a double, and scored when Nate Hanson singled to left field. That made the score 10-5.
Christensen would plate the final run of the game. In the ninth, Argo singled to start the frame and moved to third on a Caldwell double. Christensen’s sacrifice fly scored Argo for the 11-5 score.
Hamburger (5-0) earned the win, going 8-innings, allowing 8-hits, 4-earned runs, and striking out 2. Gene Escat made his first appearance since returning to the St. Paul Saints, finishing out the game and striking out two in the process.
Caldwell finished 4-5 with 2-runs and 5-RBI. Harris was 2-6 with 2-runs scored and 2-RBI. Hanson was 3-5 with 2-RBI, and Christensen was 2-4 with a run and 2-RBI.
The final contest of the three-game set is tomorrow. Kody Knaus (1-1, 4.41) starts for the St. Paul Saints. Game time is 1:05.
By Robert Pannier