ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Sioux Falls Canaries used multiple walks in the ninth inning to defeat the St. Paul Saints on Wednesday afternoon as they won the thrid game of the four-game set, which combined with their previous two wins, clinched the series for them.
Early on, neither team could break through, as both Saints starter Ryan Zimmerman and Canaries starter Joe Bircher put up matching zeroes through the first five innings. The best scoring chance came in the Canaries first inning when Brett Marr was hit by the very first pitch of the game. He advanced all the way to third before being stranded there. On the day, Zimmerman ended up hitting five Canaries, which set a new American Association record.
In the top of the sixth inning, the Canaries broke the logjam and put one run on the board, although they easily could have put up more. It started when Ty Morrison led off by being hit by a pitch. He stole second while Chris Jacobs was batting, which was followed by Jacobs being hit by a pitch.
After a strikeout of Burt Reynolds, Blake Schmit also was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Trey Vavra, who delivered a single to left field to drive in Morrison. After a pitching change, Aaron Gretz grounded into a fielder’s choice that saw Jacobs being retired at home for the second out. The inning ended when Louis Mele struck out swinging.
The Saints got the run back in the bottom of the inning when Brady Shoemaker led off with a sharp double to the left field fence. After a groundout from Anthony Gallas prevented him from advancing, he was able to score on a double by Nate Hanson to tie the game. After advancing to third on a wild pitch, Hanson was stranded on the bases when Mitch Delfino grounded out and Kes Carter struck out.
After both sides went down fairly quietly in the seventh, the Canaries picked up their second run of the game when Blake Schmit drilled a solo home run into the Saints bullpen in left field. It would have been a two-run shot, but on the pitch prior, Reynolds was caught trying to steal second base for the first out of the inning. After Vavra flew out, Gretz kept the inning alive with a sharp single to left field, though he was stranded when Mele hit a deep flyout to center field.
In the bottom of the inning, the Saints tied it up with one swing of the bat from Shoemaker, who ripped a one-out solo home run to left-center field to put it back to a tie game. After a strikeout of Anthony Gallas, Hanson hit a sharp ground ball to third base that was not fielded cleanly and resulted in Hanson reaching on an error. Delfino was grazed by a pitch to follow, but Carter grounded out to end the inning.
In the ninth, the Canaries took advantage of two walks to put up two runs against Caleb Thielbar. The inning started with a leadoff walk to Marr, which was followed by two strikeouts. Jacobs, however, reached on a walk, and they both scored when Reynolds doubled to left field to put them up 4-2.
They tacked on a third run when Schmit singled to right field to bring Reynolds to the plate and extend the lead to 5-2. Dan Motl, who was pinch-hitting for Vavra, singled to right field to put two runners on for Gretz. He singled to left field to score Schmit and extend the Canaries lead.
In the ninth inning, the Canaries sent James Jones out to finish the game, and he did his job, as the only run he allowed was a two-out home run from Colwell that made it a 6-3 game. He recovered to get the final batter and secure the win.
The final game of the series will be Thursday night when the Saints will send RHP Mark Hamburger (9-1, 2.86) to the mound. The Canaries will send RHP Grady Wood (4-1, 2.79) to the mound. First pitch is 7:05 p.m.
SF – 000 001 011 -- 6
SP – 000 001 011 -- 3
Win –Andrew Woeck (4-0)
Loss – Caleb Thielbar (2-1)
Save –- None
Player of the game – Blake Schmit (2-4, HR, 2 runs scored)