Saints fall in Season Opener 17 May 13

ST. PAUL, MN (May 16, 2013) – The St. Paul Saints played 12 extra inning ballgames in 2012, all at home. It was only fitting they started 2013 with an extra inning game at home, unfortunately, they fell on the short end, 6-4 to the New Jersey Jackals in 10 innings at Midway Stadium on Thursday in front of 5,439.

With the game tied at two in the eighth inning the Jackals took their first lead of the night. Chris Curran led off with a single to left. With two outs the Saints went to their bullpen for Billy Spottiswood, who faced Nick Giarraputo, a 22-homer guy in 2012. On a 1-2 pitch Giarraputo smacked a two-run homer over the left field wall, his first of the season, to give the Jackals a 4-2 lead.

The Saints, however, answered in the bottom of the ninth. Craig Brazell led off with a double to right. Willie Cabrera followed by singling him to third. Jose Hernandez then hit a grounder into the hole between short and third, but shortstop Jeremy Barnes made a backhanded diving play and just got Cabrera at second. Hernandez finished the night 2-5 with two doubles, an RBI and two runs scored. Brazell scored on the play to make it 4-3. Brandon Tripp then hit a grounder to second baseman Jose Cuevas, who couldn’t field the ball cleanly, which allowed Hernandez to reach second with Tripp being thrown out at first. Adam Frost then knocked a game tying single to left.

In the 10th the Jackals were able to do something no other team could do against Matt Meyer when he was with the Saints in 2010, score a run. Meyer hadn’t allowed a run in 21.1 innings in his first stint with the Saints, but Curran walked with one out and Chris Duffy knocked him home with a double. Giarraputo followed with an RBI single. He finished the game 3-5 with a homer, three RBI and a run scored.

Both starting pitchers were solid as former Major Leaguer Mark Hamburger got the start for the Saints. He went 7.0 strong innings allowing two runs on seven hits while walking one and striking out eight. His toughest jam came in the fourth when he gave up two singles and an RBI double to start the inning. With runners at second and third and nobody out he worked out of the jam without giving up another run.

Jackals starter Isaac Pavlik went 6.1 innings allowing two runs (one earned) on six hits while striking out three. He retired 13 of 14 hitters from the end of the second until the end of the sixth.

The same two teams meet in game two of the four game series Friday night at 7:05 p.m. The Saints send RHP Wes Roemer (NR) to the mound against Jackals RHP Kyle Greenwalt (NR). It is “This Is Twinkie Territory.” It is also Xcel Energy Friday Night Fireworks.