KANSAS CITY, KS (July 25, 2012) – If at first you don’t succeed try, try again. That sums up the St. Paul Saints bullpen on Wednesday night at CommunityAmerica Ballpark as the Saints hung on to beat the Kansas City T-Bones 5-4.
It was the Saints pitching staff that did a tremendous job against a deep T-Bones offense on Wednesday. With the Saints clinging to a one run lead in the eighth starter Anthony Claggett gave up just his third hit since the second inning when Brandon Jones tripled to lead off the inning. Claggett left the game for reliever Chris Odegaard, who just one night before gave up two runs in 0.1 of an inning. He got Lee Cruz, who was hitting .375 in 16 games and was 3-3 on the night, to fly out to shallow right for the first out of the inning. Odegaard followed by pitching around Ray Sadler and walking him. Trevor Coleman then struck out against Odegaard, but on strike three Sadler stole second. The Saints intentionally walked Enrique Cruz to load the bases, but Odegaard struck out pinch hitter Hunter Mense to end the inning and preserve the one run lead.
In the bottom of the ninth Dustin Klabunde was called upon to close out the game. The night before Klabunde gave up a run in 0.1 of an inning. On Wednesday he gave up just a one out single and retired the .338 hitter Jones, who had three hits entering the ninth, to end the game on a pop out. It was Klabunde’s eighth save of the season.
The Saints offense faced the best pitcher in the league, Shaun Garceau, who entered with the league’s best ERA at 1.96 and was 6-1. The T-Bones had won eight of his nine starts and the only loss was a complete game by Garceau. The Saints jumped on him in the first when Adam Frost reached on an error by third baseman Enrique Cruz. Ole Sheldon doubled him home to make it 1-0. Sheldon would drive in three on the night and now has an RBI in his last six games and a total of 12 over that span. Ronnie Bourquin singled Sheldon to third and Sheldon scored on a ground out by Jose Hernandez to give the Saints a 2-0 lead.
In the bottom of the first the T-Bones tied it at two when the first three hitters singled with Cruz driving in the first run. An RBI single by Coleman tied the game up.
Alex Garabedian gave the Saints a 3-2 lead in the second with a solo homer, his second of the season.
Claggett’s last inning that he gave up a run in came in the second when he walked leadoff hitter Pat Trettel. He got big help from his defense when Devin Goodwin was robbed of a homer by Miles Durham. With one out Gus Milner singled Trettel to second. Justin Bass was then robbed of a hit on a diving catch by Jake Krause in left. With two outs Jones reached on an infield single to first when Bourquin made a great diving play, but Claggett didn’t get over to first in time to cover the bag. Cruz made him pay with a two-run single which gave the T-Bones a 4-3 lead. Claggett went 7.0 innings allowing four runs on 10 hits while walking one and striking out three.
The Saints tied the game in the top of the third when Frost led off with a walk, stole second and went to third on the same play as the ball got away from the catcher. Sheldon’s ground out scored Frost.
The Saints took the lead in the seventh when Krause reached on an infield single, stole second and with two outs scored on Sheldon’s single. Sheldon finished the night 2-4 with a double, three RBI and a run scored.
The same two teams meet in the finale of the three game series on Thursday night at CommunityAmerica Ballpark at 7:05 p.m. The Saints are TBA and the T-Bones send RHP Josh Rainwater (4-5, 4.29)