Since July 1, when closer Seth Rosin had his contract purchased by the San Francisco Giants organization, the St. Paul Saints have had just two saves. For the second time in five games the bullpen couldn’t hold a lead late, giving up four runs over the seventh and eighth innings and losing 6-5 to the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks on Friday night at CHS Field in front of 8,712. The loss drops the Saints to 37-33 and they are now 3.5 games out of first place in the North Division.
With the Saints leading 5-2 in the seventh Ken Frosch, who pitched a perfect sixth inning and extended his scoreless streak to 14.0 consecutive innings, gave up a leadoff home run to Josh Mazzola, his 10th of the season, to make it 5-3. With two outs Charlie Valerio singled to left and Frosch departed for right-handed reliever Jason Hoppe to face right-handed hitter Brandon Tierney. The first pitch to the .190 hitter was driven over the left field wall for a two-run homer, his third of the season, tying the game at five.
Reliever Chandler Hawkins started the eighth for the Saints and he walked the leadoff hitter Devan Ahart. He stole second, but Hawkins got the next two hitters to fly out. Hawkins departed for Vinny Nittoli who intentionally walked Mazzola. The next two hitters, however, he would walk unintentionally with the second walk forcing in the eventual winning run. The bullpen went 4.0 innings allowing four runs on four hits while walking four.
Saints starter Matt Schuld was stellar in his 5.0 innings of work. The lone blip on his line came in the second when Valerio led off with a solo homer to left. With two outs Ahart walked, stole second and scored on a double from Keury De La Cruz. Schuld would allow just one more hit over his final three innings of work and went 5.0 innings allowing two runs on four hits while walking one and striking out three.
The Saints offense looked sharp for five innings against the sixth best pitcher in the league, Tyler Herron. In the first the first three hitters reached on singles as Tim Colwell, JJ Gould and Nate Hanson loaded the bases. Hanson extended his hitting streak to 15 games. The Saints would only manage one run on a sacrifice fly from Kes Carter that made it 1-0.
With the Saints trailing 2-1 in the third Colwell tied it up sending the first pitch of the inning from Herron over the right field wall, his fourth of the season, tying it at two.
In the fourth the Saints took the lead when Mitch Delfino singled with one out, moved to second on a groundout and scored on Tanner Lubach’s double off the right-center field wall making it 3-2.
In the fifth the Saints added to their lead as Gould hit a solo homer to right, his first with the Saints, to make it 4-2. The Saints would load the bases with one out when Hanson walked and Tony Thomas and Carter singled. Delfino’s sacrifice fly scored Hanson to make it 5-2. The Saints chased Herron after 5.0 innings as he allowed five runs, tying his season high on 10 hits, the most he’s given up this season.
The same two teams meet in game three of the four game series on Saturday night at CHS Field at 7:05 p.m. The Saints send RHP Benji Waite (3-3, 3.12) to the mound against RedHawks LHP Will Solomon (4-2, 4.55).