ST. PAUL, MN (July 4, 2012) – It’s a Fourth of July the St. Paul Saints won’t soon forget, but for all the wrong reasons. The Saints had a 12-5 lead after six innings, but couldn’t hang on to the lead and lost 15-14 to the Lincoln Saltdogs in 10 innings on Wednesday afternoon at Midway Stadium in front of 3,214.
All 18 starters collected at least one hit while 14 of the 18 had a multi-hit game. The Saints pitching staff allowed a franchise record high 26 hits including five to John Alonso. The game was the 20th four hour marathon in Saints history lasting four hours and 11 minutes.
With the Saints up 12-5 in the seventh the Saltdogs comeback started harmlessly enough. Reliever Kyle Carr gave up a run when David Espinosa doubled and scored on a single by Alonso to make it 12-6.
In the eighth reliever Dustin Klabunde was roughed up. Carr started the inning by walking Asif Shah and Klabunde took over. He gave up four consecutive hits, back-to-back singles with the second one from Mike Provencher scoring a run to make it 12-7. Espinosa singled and then Alonso doubled home two to make it 12-9. Stephen Holdren’s ground out scored a run made it 12-10.
The Saints got an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth when Ole Sheldon reached on a two base throwing error and scored on a single by Ronnie Bourquin to give the Saints a 13-10 lead.
The Saltdogs, however, took the lead in the ninth off of reliever Anthony Claggett. The Saltdogs sent nine men to the plate and made it 13-11 with an RBI double from Shah. With one out Provencher singled home a run to make it 13-12. With two outs Alonso drilled a two-run homer, his eighth of the season, to give the Saltdogs a 14-13 lead.
The Saints, however, managed to tie the game up in the bottom of the ninth off of Saltdogs closer P.J. Zocchi. With one out Jim Rapoport singled to center. He stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by the catcher. Jose Hernandez drove him home with a double to center. The Saints had the winning run in scoring position, but Willie Cabrera grounded out and Sheldon struck out to end the inning.
In the 10th Reid Mahon was the victim for the Saints. Salomon Manriquez hit a solo homer to center to lead off the inning, his first of the season, and that proved to be the difference.
In all the Saints used five relievers who went 5.1 innings allowing 11 runs on 19 hits. The Saints offense pounded out a season high 20 hits and scored a season high 14 runs with Cabrera leading the way with four hits.
The same two teams meet Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. in game three of the four game series. The Saints send RHP Todd Mathison (0-1, 8.31) to the mound against Saltdogs RHP Wade Mackey (3-0, 3.68). It is the second 20thseason celebration with the first 1,500 fans receiving a conehead giveaway presented by Xfinity.