GARY, IN (June 21, 2013) – With two outs and nobody on base in the bottom of the ninth the St. Paul Saints looked to have the game in the bag. Four different hitters were down to their final strike, but disaster struck and the Gary SouthShore Railcats scored three runs without a hit and the Saints would lose 5-4 in 10 innings at U.S. Steel Yard on Friday night.
The Saints turned it over to their closer Matt Meyer in the ninth inning. He hadn’t given up a run in 13.0 consecutive scoreless innings and looked like he would make it 14.0. After getting Craig Maddox to pop out and Steve Liddle to ground out he walked Brian Kolb on a full count pitch. The on an 0-2 pitch he hit Drew Martinez. Then pinch hitter Ryan Babineau was hit by a 2-2 pitch to load the bases. Meyer then got Danny Pulfer in a 1-2 count and for the fourth consecutive batter Meyer was one strike away from ending the game. Pulfer hit a tapper to the right of Meyer on the mound. Meyer fielded the ball, spun to first and threw the ball away allowing all three runs to score to tie the game and sending Pulfer to third. Adam Klein nearly won the game when he hit a sinking fly to left, but Willie Cabrera made a diving catch to send the game to extra innings.
In the top of the 10th the Saints put runners at first and third with nobody out. Joey Becker led off with an infield single to second. He moved to second on a wild pitch and then went to third on a Brad Boyer bunt single. Cabrera then hit a hard liner right at third baseman Brian Kolb, who made the grab and then dove toward third before Becker could get back for a double play. Boyer would advance to second on a wild pitch, but Brandon Tripp struck out to end the inning.
In the bottom of the 10th Mike Massaro led off with a bunt single. He moved to third when Cristian Guerrero’s grounder to short hit the lip of the grass and went under Becker for a single. Meyer would get Maddox to strikeout and Liddle to foul out to third. Then on a 3-2 pitch Kolb singled through the left side to drive in Massaro for the game winning run.
Saints starter Luke Anderson was superb going 7.0 innings allowing one run on four hits while walking two and striking out six. He looked like he would get the win courtesy of Brandon Tripp.
With the game tied at one in the seventh Brandon Tripp hit an opposite field solo shot to left, his ninth of the season, to put the Saints up 2-1.
In the eighth Brandon Tripp gave the Saints breathing room. Dan Kaczrowski led off with an infield single to third. Adam Frost laid down a sacrifice bunt and was safe at first on a throwing error by pitcher Taylor Sewitt. After Becker’s ground out moved the runners up, Brad Boyer was walked intentionally to load the bases. Cabrera popped out, but Brandon Tripp doubled off the left field wall scoring two and putting the Saints up 4-1.
The same two teams meet in game three of the four game series on Saturday evening at 6:10 p.m. at U.S. Steel Yard. The Saints are TBA while the Railcats send LHP Alain Quijano (4-2, 5.40) to the mound.