With one mighty swing of the bat Ole Sheldon gave the St. Paul Saints some breathing room. That was all the tandem of Danny Gutierrez and Dustin Klabunde, the University of Minnesota product who was making his professional debut, needed in winning their fourth straight a 7-2 victory over the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks on Tuesday night at Midway Stadium in front of 4,060.
The Saints took advantage of RedHawks miscues in the game as they committed four errors. In the first Jim Rapoport and Shane Costa reached on back-to-back singles With one out and runners at second and third Ole Sheldon hit a grounder to third that Ryan Stovall booted allowing Sheldon to reach and Rapoport to score making it 1-0. Tanner Townsend followed with an infield single to short scoring Costa giving the Saints a 2-0 lead. Jose Hernandez then hit a grounder to short that Zach Penprase couldn’t field and it allowed Sheldon to score giving the Saints a 3-0 lead.
The RedHawks scored two unearned runs in the top of the second when Sheldon made an error at first that allowed a run to score. Ryan Stovall’s RBI infield single made it 3-2.
Sheldon more than made up for his miscue in the fourth. With one out Jon Townsend reached on an error by Penprase. Rapoport singled and after Costa reached on a fielder’s choice, Willie Cabrera walked to load the bases. On the first pitch Sheldon saw he crushed a grand slam over the left field wall, his sixth of the season and second grand slam as a Saints, to give the Saints a five run cushion. Sheldon is now nine home runs and 19 RBI shy of the Saints all-time record in each category. Sheldon finished the night 1-4 with a grand slam, five RBI and two runs scored.
The Saints pitchers, which have been taxed by signings, injuries and extra innings, got the shot in the arm they needed. Gutierrez, who was making his third start since missing two weeks because of an injury, was masterful going 6.0 innings allowing two unearned run on seven hits while walking one and striking out five.
Topping Gutierrez was Klabunde who dazzled in his professional debut. After every reliever pitched in Monday night’s extra inning game with the exception of Klabunde, he mixed his fastball and change up to face the minimum in his 3.0 innings of work. He was perfect while striking out three and earning a save.
The same two teams meet in the finale of the three game series Wednesday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. The Saints send their newest pitcher LHP T.J. Wink (NR) against RedHawks RHP Aaron Shafer (1-2, 4.45). It is A Tribute to the Monkees presented by Sun Drop Citrus Soda.