FARGO, ND (August 8, 2013) – There’s ending a losing streak and then there is what the St. Paul Saints did on Thursday night at Newman Outdoor Field. They took out a season long worth of road woes on the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks with a 16-0 trouncing, tying the largest margin of victory in franchise history while snapping a season long five game losing streak and season tying high six game road losing streak.
The scoring for the Saints began in the second inning when RedHawks starter Alex Caldera had trouble with his control. Willie Cabrera led off with a single and moved to third on a double by Brandon Tripp. Then Caldera walked three straight hitters: Ole Sheldon, Jose Hernandez and Dwight Childs, the last two pushing across a run to give the Saints a 2-0 lead. With one out Adam Frost knocked home a run with a single and Joey Becker’s RBI fielder’s choice made it 4-0.
In the fifth Willie Cabrera drove one over the right field wall for a three-run homer, his 12th of the season, giving the Saints a 7-0 lead.
That was more than enough runs for Saints starter Cole Nelson, who was making his return to the Saints after he had his contract purchased by the Atlanta Braves on June 17. Nelson didn’t allow a hit until there was one out in the fifth inning. He retired the first eight men he faced before walking Todd Jennings with two outs in the third.
In the fourth Nelson walked Nic Jackson with one out, but got C.J. Retherford to ground into a double play to end the inning. In the fifth, with one out, Tim Alberts reached on a fielding error by third baseman Joey Becker. That’s when Jeremiah Piepkorn singled to right to break up the no hitter. Nelson wasn’t fazed as he got Mitch Einertson to line into an inning ending double play. Nelson went 6.0 shutout innings allowing three hits while walking two and striking out two.
Saints reliever Bryan Henry, pitching in his final professional game before taking the volunteer assistant position at Florida State University, tossed 2.0 hitless, scoreless innings of relief.
With the Saints leading 9-0 in the ninth they scored seven runs, including a two-run homer from Donald Blunt, his first of the season. The Saints sent 13 men to the plate in the inning and scored a season tying high seven runs.
The only thing left in doubt in the bottom of the ninth was the final margin of victory. Saints reliever Dylan Thomas retired the first two hitters before giving up a single to Jackson. Thomas then got Retherford to foul out to end the game.
It is the third 16-0 victory for the Saints winning by that margin on August 12, 2002 vs. Joliet Jackhammers and June 4, 2004 at the Kansas City T-Bones. The other 16-run victory came on July 26, 1996 in a 22-6 victory at the Sioux Falls Canaries.
The Saints return home on Friday evening at 7:05 p.m. in the first of a three game series against the Sioux City Explorers at Midway Stadium. The Saints send RHP Mark Hamburger (5-5, 3,68) to the mound against Explorers LHP Richard Salazar (7-3, 3.45). It is a Night of Unbelievable Fun – The Second Coming presented by the Minnesota Atheists.