ST.PAUL, MN (August 9, 2013) – The St. Paul Saints hosted A Night of Unbelievable Fun – Part II presented by Minnesota Atheists on Friday night at Midway Stadium, but in the end it was the Saints who were left in disbelief as they were edged by the Sioux City Explorers 3-1 in front of 6,406. Starting pitcher Mark Hamburger threw his fourth complete game of the season, but was dealt the loss and is now just 2-2 when going the distance.
It was a pitcher’s duel early on as both Hamburger and Explorers starter Richard Salazar allowed nothing through five innings. In the Sioux City sixth Eliezer Mesa started the frame with a leadoff single. Mesa was able to race all the way to third base when an unconventional pickoff attempt from Hamburger sailed past first baseman Brian Burgamy and into the right field corner. Hamburger retired the next two batters, but Austin Gallagher ripped a two out single to give the Explorers a 1-0 lead.
Sioux City was back at it in the seventh again taking advantage of a fielding error by the Saints pitcher. Yusuke Inoguchi led off with a single and one out later Alberto Espinosa followed suit, moving Inoguch to third. Espinoza advanced 90 feet on a passed ball charged to catcher Dwight Childs. That would turn out to be a huge occurrence as the next batter Leugim Barroso hit a bouncing ball down the first base line. Hamburger fielded it and attempted to make a leaping throw on the move to first base. The throw was off target and ended up in right field allowing both runs to score and making it 3-0.
The Saints tallied their only run in the seventh on a Joey Becker RBI single. Becker finished the evening 2-4 with the RBI. The Saints were unable to do further damage however, leaving the bases loaded in the inning. Trailing by two in the ninth and facing Jimmer Kennedy, the Saints again loaded the bases with two outs, but Brad Boyer struck out and the game was decided.
Mark Hamburger worked 9.0 innings and allowed three runs, one earned, while giving up nine hits. He also struck out nine and walked just one. The complete game was Hamburger’s fourth of the season tying him with four others for the most in franchise history. The last pitcher to achieve the feat was Charlie Ruud in 2007.
The Saints and Explorers will match up again on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. The Saints starting pitcher is TBA, while the Explorers will send RHP Preston Olson (1-4, 7.75) to the mound. It is a Peanut Free Game presented by Midwest Ear, Nose, and Threat Specialists.