ST. PAUL, MN (July 5, 2012) – The St. Paul Saints pitching staff continues to wilt in the summer heat. The Saints staged a comeback from a six run deficit, but it was the Lincoln Saltdogs who scored late as the Saints lost 9-8 on Thursday night at Midway Stadium in front of 3,020.
The Saltdogs jumped all over Saints starter Todd Mathison in the first two innings in the first two innings and jumped out to a 6-0 lead after two innings. They scored four runs in the first on an RBI single from David Espinosa and a three-run homer from John Alonso, his ninth of the season, to give the Saltdogs a 4-0 lead.
In the second Joe Spiers and Mike Provencher both singled with two outs. Espinosa knocked them both home with a double to put the Saltdogs up by six. Mathison went 5.1 innings allowing eight runs (seven earned) on 11 hits while walking three.
The Saints, however, continued to hit the ball well and stormed back in the bottom of the second to tie the game. They sent 11 men to the plate and Ole Sheldon and Ronnie Bourquin led it off with back-to-back singles. With one out Miles Durham walked to load the bases and Jon Townsend cleared them with a double to make it 6-3. Jon scored on a single from Alex Garabedian to make it 6-4. After Jim Rapoport walked Jose Hernandez tied the game at six with a two-run double.
With the Saints trailing 7-6 in the fifth they took the lead. Bourquin doubled and scored on a Tanner Townsend bad hop single over the shortstops head to tie the game at seven. After a throwing error advanced Tanner to third, he scored on a Rapoport sacrifice fly to give the Saints an 8-7 lead.
Unfortunately, the Saints couldn’t hold the lead. The Saltdogs tied the game at seven in the sixth and took the lead for good in the eighth. Asif Shah singled and pinch runner Brad Payne advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. With two outs Alonso drove in his fourth run with a single to center that would prove to be the winning run.
The same two teams meet in the finale of the four game series on Friday night at 7:05 p.m. The Saints send RHP Robert Coe (4-3, 4.13) to the mound against Saltdogs RHP Ricardo Estevez (0-1, 7.20). It begins a Weekend at “The Cabin” and Friday Night Fireworks presented by Xcel Energy. Also fans can win up to $77,777 with Big Money Day presented by St. Croix Casino.