GARY, IN (August 6, 2012) – The games remaining are shrinking and the playoff deficit is increasing for the St. Paul Saints. Both teams collected just four hits, but the Saints scored one fewer run in a 2-1 loss to the Gary SouthShore Railcats on Monday night at U.S. Steel Yard.
Kyle Hurst, making his first appearance with the Saints after being signed on Monday was strong in his 4.0 innings of work. After nursing an injury at the end of 2011 and throwing mainly out of relief this season he was kept on a pitch count and had just one inning in which the Railcats scored, but it proved to be enough. In the third Hurst walked the first two hitters of the inning, Zach Mitchell and David Cooper. On a 3-2 pitch to Cooper and Mitchell running from first, catcher Benji Johnson threw down to second, but it went into center field. The pitch was ball four, so Mitchell advanced to third on the error. After a wild pitch advanced Cooper to second, Adam Klein’s ground out to short scored Mitchell to give the Railcats a 1-0 lead. Mike Massaro made it 2-0 with a single to center. Hurst went 4.0 innings allowing two runs on three hits while walking four and striking out two.
The Saints couldn’t touch the Railcats rookie left-hander in the first three innings as Jon Gulbransen went nine up and nine down. In the fourth, however, Jim Rapoport led off with a single and with one out advanced to second on a single by Joe Spiers. A wild pitch advanced the runners and Ole Sheldon’s sacrifice fly cut the deficit to a run.
In the sixth the Saints put the first two hitters aboard when Benji Johnson doubled and Rapoport singled to center, but Johnson had to hold because Massaro nearly caught the ball diving for it. With two outs and the runners still at first and second Ole Sheldon and Gulbransen locked up in a 12-pitch at bat with Gulbransen finally striking out Sheldon to end the inning. Gulbransen went 7.0 innings allowing one runs on four hits while striking out eight.
The only other inning the Saints had an opportunity came in the eighth when Jake Krause led off with a walk, Johnson sacrificed him to second, but Rapoport hit a soft liner to short that was caught by Cooper. Krause was already at third and was doubled up at second to end the inning.
The Saints were retired in order in six of the nine innings and sent the minimum to the plate in seven of the nine innings.
The Saints head to Newman Outdoor Field for the first game of a three game series on Tuesday night against the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks at 7:02 p.m. The Saints send RHP Luke Anderson (3-1, 3.02) against RedHawks RHP Paul Burnside (8-4, 2.73).