ST. PAUL, Minn. – The St. Paul Saints defeated the Sioux City Explorers 6-3 on Thursday night to take two out of the three games between the two teams. The Saints jumped out to the lead early and were able to hold on despite a late attempt at a rally from the Explorers.
Hamburger in a groove early
The Saints sent their ace to the mound in Mark Hamburger, and he pitched like it. After setting the Explorers down in order in the first, his offense came through with an early run for him, as Nate Hanson hit a solo home run in the bottom of the frame. Hamburger ran into some struggles in the second inning, as he allowed a two-out single and a double, but he was able to escape the jam, as Jonathan Gonzalez grounded out to shortstop for the final out.
The Explorers again got a scoring chance in the top of the fourth inning when Levon Washington and Joe Bennie both hit two-out singles, but again Hamburger was able to wiggle his way out of trouble, as again it was Gonzalez who grounded out, this time to the second baseman for the final out of the inning.
The Saints got two more runs in the bottom of the inning, starting with a leadoff single from Brady Shoemaker, which was followed by a two-run home run to left-center field by Anthony Gallas to stretch the lead to 3-0. Explorers starter Cody Forsythe was able to get out of the inning, as Tony Thomas grounded out to first base, followed by two straight strikeouts of Tim Colwell and Maxx Garrett.
Sioux City breaks through
The Explorers finally broke through in the fifth inning, as Tony Campana singled to center field, which was followed by a single from Nate Samson. A little bit later, Brian Fortier singled to score Campana and moved Samson to third. He scored when Washington ripped a single to right field to make it a one-run game. Hamburger was able to escape, as Bennie hit into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.
After the Saints were unable to score in their half of the fifth, they pushed across two runs in the sixth, thanks to a single from Thomas, a stolen base for Thomas, and a double from Colwell that scored Thomas. The final strike came when Garrett singled to center field to score Colwell and make it a 5-2 lead for the Saints.
The Explorers tacked on another run in the top of the seventh inning when Campana led off with a double to center field. He advanced to third on a sacrifice fly from Samson and scored when Fortier doubled to center field to cut it to a two-run St. Paul lead.
The Saints got the run back in the bottom of the inning when Hanson was hit by a pitch. He advanced to third on a double from Shoemaker and scored on a sacrifice fly from Gallas to put the lead at three runs.
Rosin nails down the save, his ninth
The Saints brought in Seth Rosin in the ninth for the save attempt, and he was successful, as he picked up his ninth save of the season to help the Saints take two out of three from the Explorers.
The Explorers now head back to Sioux City, where they will host the Kansas City T-Bones this weekend. The Saints, meanwhile, will remain at CHS Field to finish their 10-game homestand with three games against the Gary SouthShore Railcats. First pitch of game one is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. on Friday.
Win – Mark Hamburger (7-1)
Loss – Cody Forsythe (3-2)
Save – Seth Rosin (9)
Player of the game – Brady Shoemaker (3-4, double, two singles)
SCE 000 020 100 -- 3
STP 100 202 100 -- 6