ST. PAUL, MN (June 10, 2014) – The St. Paul Saints turned the ball over to their best reliever with a three-run lead in the seventh. They looked like they would cruise to their fifth straight win and send the Sioux Falls Canaries to their 11th straight loss. Unfortunately, the Saints couldn’t hold the lead, gave up nine runs over the final three innings and lost 10-5 on Tuesday night at Midway Stadium in front of 5,366.
With the Saints leading 4-1 in the top of the seventh Saints starter Cole Nelson gave up a leadoff single to Stephen Branca. That’s when Saints manager George Tsamis handed the ball to Mikey Mehlich, who entered play with a 0.54 ERA in 16.2 innings. He was greeted, however, by a Kevin Dultz two-run homer to cut the lead to 4-3. The next four hitters all reached safely with a double from Stephen Tinoco, a single by Brandon Jones, an RBI single from Shelby Ford, to tie the game at four, and a walk to A.J. Kirby Jones to load the bases with nobody out. Chris Duffy hit a grounder to short that forced the runner at second, but scored Brandon Jones to make it 5-4 Canaries. A sac fly from Carlos Mendez finished the scoring and gave the Canaries a 6-4 lead. Mehlich went 1.0 inning allowing four runs on three hits.
In the eighth the Canaries tacked on two more off of reliever Ben Hughes. He walked the leadoff hitter Dultz and, with one, out Brandon Jones tripled under the glove of a diving center fielder Evan Bigley to score Dultz and make it 7-4. A two out RBI single by A.J. Kirby Jones made it 8-4.
Saints reliever Chase Hentges didn’t fare any better allowing two runs in the ninth inning on a two-run single from Tinoco.
The Saints jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first when leadoff hitter Devin Thaut hit a solo homer over the left field wall, his second of the season.
In the fourth the Saints got another long ball this time it was Angelo Songco leading off the inning with a solo homer to left, his fourth of the season, to make it 2-0.
With the Saints up 2-1 in the fifth Carlos Escobar led off by reaching on a throwing error by shortstop Branca. Dwight Childs sacrificed him to second and Joe Bonfe’s double scored Escobar to make it 3-1. Bigley added an RBI single to give the Saints a 4-1 lead.
Saints starter Cole Nelson pitched well going 6.0 innings allowing two runs on four hits while walking four and striking out three.
The same two teams meet in the finale of the three game series on Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m. at Midway Stadium. The Saints send RHP Robert Coe (4-1, 4.50) against Canaries LHP Matt Wickswat (0-1, 2.49). It is the Return of 1999s Game Show Night.