ST. PAUL, MN (June 9, 2014) – A great pitcher’s duel turned into an offensive showcase as the St. Paul Saints scored six runs in their final two turns at bat to defeat the Sioux Falls Canaries 6-2 on Monday night at Midway Stadium in front of 3,462 as they claimed their season tying high fourth straight win.
Saints starter Anthony Claggett was his usual dominant self while Canaries starter Joe Bircher matched him pitch for pitch. Claggett didn’t give up his first hit until the fifth inning, but he needed his defense to help him out to prevent a run from scoring. Claggett walked the leadoff hitter Chris Duffy and he moved to second on a sacrifice from Carlos Mendez. With two outs Stephen Branca singled to center field. Evan Bigley, the league leader in outfield assists, threw a perfect strike to the plate nailing Duffy at home to end the inning and keep the game scoreless.
The game stayed that way until the seventh when Bigley doubled with two outs. Henry Wrigley then drilled one over the left field wall, a two-run shot his seventh of the season, to give the Saints a 2-0 lead. Bircher went 7.0 innings allowing two runs on four hits while striking out two.
That looked like it would be enough for Claggett who retired the first two hitters in the eighth. The Canaries bats finally woke up as Stephen Branca singled to right. Ty Forney followed with a single to put runners at first and second. Chris Valencia doubled them both home to tie the game at two. Claggett went 8.0 innings allowing two runs on five hits while walking two and striking out three.
In the bottom of the eighth the Canaries turned to their bullpen and Josh Giles who had not given up a run in 8.2 innings this season. With one out Angelo Songco doubled down the first base line. Joey Becker was hit by a pitch. Dwight Childs blooped a single into left to load the bases. Devin Thaut came through with a two-run single to give the Saints a 4-2 lead. Thaut finished the game 2-4 with two RBI and a run scored. Joe Bonfe then laid down a suicide squeeze to make it 5-2 and the Saints finished their scoring on an RBI single from Bigley to finish the scoring.
The same two teams meet Tuesday evening at 7:05 p.m. at Midway Stadium in game two of the three game series. The Saints send LHP Cole Nelson (1-3, 4.58) to the mound against Canaries RHP Ben Moore (1-1, 3.99). It is Larry Doby Night presented by Central Bank.