LINCOLN, NE (June 19, 2012) – Injuries to the St. Paul Saints pitching staff forced manager George Tsamis to go bullpen by committee on Tuesday night at Haymarket Park. For the most part the four pitchers the Saints used pitched well, but the Lincoln Saltdogs collected timely hits as the Saints lost 5-2.
Dustin Klabunde, the University of Minnesota product, was the tabbed starting pitcher. In the first inning Klabunde gave up his first run in three appearances with the Saints. With one out Jared McDonald singled, stole second and with two outs and two on Jimmy Rohan doubled home McDonald to give the Saltdogs a 1-0 lead. Klabunde went 3.0 innings allowing one run on five hits while walking two and striking out one.
His counterpart, Wade Mackey, was pitching on short rest, but was unhittable early on. He retired the first 11 men he faced before the Saints wound up with back-to-back singles in the fourth by Willie Cabrera and Ole Sheldon.
The Saints finally got to Mackey in the fifth when Jose Hernandez and Ronnie Bourquin recorded back-to-back singles. Benji Johnson sacrificed them over and Adam Frost walked to load the bases. Jim Rapoport tied the game at one with a single to right. The Saints, however, would get no more in the inning as Shane Costa flew out to medium right and Bourquin tried to score from third, but was thrown out.
Billy Spottiswood was asked to throw the middle three innings for the Saints. He tossed a perfect fourth, but didn’t have the same success in the fifth. Joe Spiers led off with an infield single while McDonald and Stephen Holdren also singled to load the bases. John Alonso’s sacrifice fly made it 2-1 and Rohan singled in a run to make it 3-1.
In the sixth Spottiswood looked like he was going to get out of the inning with a double play, but the call didn’t go his way. With one out Salomon Manriquez singled and Brad Payne singled him to second. Spiers then hit a grounder to first which Sheldon fielded, fired to second for out number two and the relay throw back to Spottiswood covering first was in time, but the first base umpire ruled Spottiswood’s foot wasn’t on the bag. That allowed McDonald to bat and he tripled in both runners to make it 5-1. Spottiswood went 3.0 innings allowing four runs on seven hits while striking out one. McDonald finished 4-4, a homer shy of the cycle with two RBI, two runs scored and a stolen base.
Bret Severtson and Anthony Claggett each pitched a scoreless inning of relief for the Saints.
Tanner Townsend extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a solo homer in the ninth, his fifth of the season.
The same two teams meet in the finale of the three game series on Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m. The Saints send RHP Robert Coe (3-2, 3.57) to the mound while the Saltdogs are TBA.