SIOUX CITY, IA (July 21, 2012) – The most important at bat of the night for Ole Sheldon came after he broke the franchises home run mark. With the Saints trailing by four in the eighth he lined an RBI single to right that kept the momentum going as the Saints scored five runs in the eighth to come from behind and win for the seventh consecutive game, 7-6 over the Sioux City Explorers on Saturday night at Lewis and Clark Park.
With the Saints trailing 6-2 in the top of the eighth Adam Frost led the inning off, against Explorers closer Chris Bodishbaugh, with a single to right-center. Willie Cabrera followed with a lined single off the glove of diving second baseman Mike Murphy. Sheldon then lined a single to right scoring Frost, to make it 6-3, and sending Cabrera to third. Jose Hernandez singled to center scoring Cabrera and cutting the deficit to 6-4. Hernandez now has six straight multi-hit games. The rally looked to be thwarted when Ronnie Bourquin grounded into a double play that moved Sheldon to third. Miles Durharm, however, lined a single to left scoring Sheldon and making it 6-5. That’s when two of the biggest plays of the game occurred. Jon Townsend hit a sinking fly ball to right that glanced off of right fielder Brian Bisenius’ glove for a single. Durham raced around third and Bisenius’ throw to the plate popped in and out of the mitt of catcher Ray Serrano allowing Durham to score the tying run. Jon Townsend then stole second putting the go ahead run at second. Benji Johnson hit a broken bat grounder through the legs of the pitcher Bodishbaugh that was fielded by second baseman Mike Murphy. His throw to first was in the dirt and Kris Sanchez couldn’t scoop it. Jon Townsend raced around from second to score the go ahead run.
The Saints pitching staff was able to do the rest. With runners at first and second and two outs in the eighth Reid Mahon struck out Sanchez to end the inning.
In the ninth Saints closer Dustin Klabunde allowed a leadoff single by Ray Serrano. Brian Bistagne pinch ran and was sacrificed to second. Two fine defensive plays ended the game. The first was by Sheldon who fielded a tough short hop at first and touched first for the second out of the inning. The final out of the game came when Ryan Priddy hit a hard ground ball in the hole at short that Adam Frost backhanded and threw out Priddy at first to end the game.
Sheldon’s historic moment came in the sixth with the Saints trailing 4-1. On the first pitch of the inning from Nick Schumacher he launched one well over the left field wall for his 15th homer of the season that surpassed David Kennedy (1994, 97-99) with the 55th homer in his Saints career. The home run was also the 100th of his professional career.
The seven game winning streak for the Saints ties them for the fourth longest in franchise history and is the longest winning since they won 12 in a row at the end of the 2007 season into the beginning of the 2008 season.
The same two teams meet Sunday evening at 6:05 p.m. in game three of the four game series. The Saints send RHP Robert Coe (7-3, 3.76) to the mound against Explorers LHP Richard Salazar (4-6, 4.06).