ST. PAUL, MN (July 30, 2012) – The two hottest teams in the American Association began a four game series on Monday night at Midway Stadium. The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, winners of seven straight and 23 of 25, took on the St. Paul Saints, winners of five straight and 13 of 15. The only question after the Saints won a thrilling 7-6 game in 11 innings in front of 3,452, is what will these two teams do for an encore?
With the Saints trailing 5-3 going into the bottom of the ninth and facing the league leader in saves, Tom Boleska, the Saints would find a way to tie the game. Jose Hernandez, who hit the walk-off homer on Sunday afternoon, led off with a single. With one out Miles Durham singled Hernandez to second. That brought up Jon Townsend, who on June 11 won a game in the 11th with an RBI double off of Boleska. He brought back shaded of that game with a double to deep center driving in both runs to tie the game at five. Alex Garabedian grounded out to third which moved Townsend to third, but Joe Spiers lined out to right to end the inning.
In the top of the 10th Nic Jackson reached on a one out single. He then stole second on a call that Saints manager George Tsamis came out to argue. He was thrown out of the ballgame. The next hitter Eric Campbell hit a sinking liner to center that Jim Rapoport dove for, but came up empty and the ball rolled past him for an RBI triple. Saints reliever Chris Odegaard, however, came up huge by striking out the final two hitters of the inning.
‘ Leaving the runner stranded at third proved to be a big moment because in the bottom of the 10th Ole Sheldon reached on a one out single. He was replaced by pinch runner Jake Krause. With two outs Hernandez hit a grounder to third, that hit the bag, was fielded by Campbell, but his throw to first went high over the head of the first baseman and into foul territory allowing Krause to score the tying run.
After Odegaard pitched a perfect top of the 11th the Saints would win it in the bottom of the 11th. Miles Durham led off with a triple off the right-center field wall. With the infield in Jon Townsend lined out to second. Alex Garabedian followed with a walk and Joe Spiers was hit by a pitch to load the bases. With the infield in Adam Frost hit a high chopper that glanced off the top of Zach Penprase’s glove at short and into left-center scoring Durham for the game winner. Durham finished the night 3-5 with two triples, two RBI, three runs scored and a stolen base.
The Saints have now won six straight and trail the Winnipeg Goldeyes by 2.0 games in the Wild Card standings.
The same two teams meet in game two of the four game series on Tuesday night at Midway Stadium at 7:05 p.m. The Saints send RHP Robert Coe (8-3, 3.59) to the mound against RHP Alex Caldera (8-1, 3.25). It is St. Paddy’s Day in July.