WINNIPEG, MB (August 17, 2012) – Despite entering Friday night’s game 5.0 games out of the Wild Card the St. Paul Saints knew they had seven games remaining against the team that leads that race, the Winnipeg Goldeyes. They took care of business getting a fantastic pitching performance from Anthony Claggett and hanging on in the ninth for a 4-1 win at Shaw Park and cutting the deficit in the wild card race to 4.0 games.
It seems like no lead is safe for the Saints when they lead late. On Tuesday afternoon they led 2-0 going into the ninth, but lost 5-2. On Wednesday they were tied going into the 10th and lost 14-8. On Friday they took a 4-0 lead into the ninth, but Dustin Klabunde had to gut it out to close the game out. Josh Mazzola led off for the Goldeyes with a double. After a strike out of Amos Ramon, Kyle Day singled to right scoring Mazzola. Mike Coles followed with a walk and Price Kendall singled to load the bases. Klabunde got a line out to first from Jose Duran for the second out. That brought up Yurendell de Caster, who had two grand slams this season. Klabunde went 3-0 on de Caster, who got the green light on the next pitch and hit a sharp grounder to Ronnie Bourquin at third. Bourquin threw to second for the final out of the game. That was the story of the night, each time the Goldeyes had a chance to make some noise, Saints pitchers made the big pitches.
In the first Claggett gave up a single and hit a batter with two outs, but got a strike out to end the inning. In the second Claggett gave up two singles and a double steal with two outs, but got Coles to ground out to end the inning. In the sixth it was a much more difficult situation as de Caster doubled and with one out Jon Weber singled him to third. Claggett, however, got Mazzola to foul out to catcher Alex Garabedian and Ramon to ground out to end the inning. Claggett went 6.0 shutout innings allowing five hits while walking three and striking out five.
The Saints jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second when Miles Durham doubled and Bourquin followed with an RBI double.
In the fourth Ole Sheldon crushed one over the left field wall, his 19th of the season, for a solo home run to give the Saints a 2-0 lead.
In the seventh Adam Frost led off with a broken bat double down the left field line which was followed by a broken bat single to center by Willie Cabrera that scored Frost to make it 3-0.
The Saints finished their scoring in the ninth when Cabrera hit an opposite field solo home run to right, his ninth of the season, to give the Saints a 4-0 lead.
The same two teams meet in the second game of the three game series on Saturday night at 6:00 p.m. The Saints send RHP Kyle Ruwe (2-1, 2.43) against Goldeyes RHP Matt Rusch (8-2, 2.48).