GRAND PRAIRIE, TX (July 13, 2013) – The St. Paul Saints nearly pulled off an historical feat by tossing three consecutive shutouts. Unfortunately, the game against the Grand Prairie AirHogs entered the ninth inning scoreless and a run in the bottom of the ninth inning did them in as they lost 1-0 on Saturday night at QuickTrip Park.
The Saints scoreless streak reached an astounding 30 innings, having not given up a run since the sixth inning of Tuesday afternoon’s game to the Kansas City T-Bones. After shutouts on Thursday and Friday against the AirHogs, Anthony Claggett kept the streak going on Saturday night for the Saints. He tossed 8.0 shutout innings and allowed just two base runners to reach second. The biggest jam he got into came in the eighth when Bubba Dotson singled with one out. Yasutsugu Nishimoto sacrificed him to second and Claggett then walked Charlie Neil. A flyout by Ryan Kiniry ended the inning. Claggett threw 96 pitches, 56 for strikes and gave up just three hits while walking five and striking out two.
In the bottom of the ninth Mikey Mehlich came on in relief for the Saints. Brandon Pinckney led off with a fly ball double that Willie Cabrera just missed making a great sliding catch on in left. Brian Myrow was then intentionally walked. After a shallow fly out by Andres Rodriguez, Ryan Pineda, the AirHogs leading hitter came to the plate. He was 0-10 in the series, but poked one through the left side. Cabrera came up throwing and his throw was on the foul side of the plate. Dwight Childs grabbed the ball and as he went to swipe the tag, the ball popped out of his glove allowing Pinckney to score the winning run. It’s the second 1-0 loss for the Saints this season and 14th in franchise history.
AirHogs starter Jared Mortensen was superb going 8.0 shutout innings allowing five hits while walking one and striking out seven. The Saints had two decent chances to score against him. In the third Dan Kaczrowksi led off with a single to center. Adam Frost sacrificed him to second, but Joey Becker and Brad Boyer struck out to end the inning.
In the fourth Brandon Tripp reached on a one out infield single. Ole Sheldon singled to center moving Tripp to second. Jose Hernandez flew out and Childs struck out to end the inning. The Saints had just one more base runner the rest of the way, a leadoff single by Sheldon in the seventh.
The same two teams meet on Sunday evening at 6:05 p.m. in the finale of the four game series at QuickTrip Park. The Saints send RHP Drew Gay (0-0, 0.00) to the mound against AirHogs LHP Brandon Bargas (2-2, 3.60).