Saints make history 17 Aug 15

JOPLIN, MO (August 15, 2015) – Win number 60 of the season was not one St. Paul Saints manager George Tsamis is going to remember because of the smooth play by his team.  They struck out a franchise high 17 times, the fifth straight game with double-digit strikeouts, committed a season high four errors, yet found a way to squeak out a 3-2 victory over the Joplin Blasters on Saturday night at Joe Becker Stadium.

                The Saints had at least one strikeout in every inning and every hitter struck out at least once, with the exception of Vinny DiFazio.  They did, however, jump on the board in the first inning, scoring their 83rd run of the season in the opening frame.  With one out Willie Argo walked, DiFazio was hit by a pitch and Angelo Songco drove home Argo with an RBI single to right to make it 1-0.

                Saints starter Robert Coe was his usual strong self and made just two mistakes on the night.  In the second Oscar Mesa hit a solo homer to right, his third of the season, to tie the game at one.

                The Saints managed just one hit from the second through the sixth, a one out double by DiFazio in the third.  In the seventh with the game tied at one Alonzo Harris hit a hanging breaking ball over the left field wall, his eighth of the season, to give the Saints a 2-1 lead.

                Coe, however, made his second mistake of the night in the bottom of the inning when he threw a high fastball on a 3-1 count that Jesus Solorzano tomahawked over the left field wall, his ninth of the season, to tie the game at two.  Coe went 6.1 innings allowing two runs on seven hits while walking two and striking out one.

                In the eighth Joey Paciorek, who had been one for his last 26, singled to right with one out.  Steve Nikorak followed with a walk to put runners at first and second.  After Anthony Phillips struck out Dan Kaczrowski battled against reliever Victor Capellan.  With the count 2-2 he fouled off two pitches.  He then reached out and poked a base hit into right field just past the diving Steven Tinoco at first into right field.  The base hit scored Paciorek and gave the Saints a one run lead.

                In the ninth Ryan Rodebaugh had Maikol Gonzalez on at first and two outs.  Gonzalez, the league leader in steals, swiped second and advanced to third on the throwing error by DiFazio.  Rodebaugh, however, struck out Tinoco to end the ballgame and pick up his league leading 21st save.

                The 60th win is one shy of the franchise record of 61 set in 2004, the last time the Saints won a championship.


JOPLIN, MO (August 16, 2015) – The St. Paul Saints may not be playing for a playoff position anymore, having already clinched the North Division, but they are playing for the most historic season in franchise history.  Dustin Crenshaw, on the other hand, is trying to have the single greatest pitching year in club history.  Both happened on Sunday evening as Crenshaw hurled a complete game six-hit shutout as the Saints beat the Joplin Blasters 4-0 for their franchise tying 61st victory, tying the 2004 team.

                With the win by Crenshaw he sets a franchise record with his 13th victory, surpassing five other pitchers in the 22-year history of the Saints.  His fifth complete game ties Mark Hamburger’s 2013 record and his third shutout breaks the franchise record.  He threw 99 pitches, an amazing 78 for strikes. 

                The only times he ran into trouble he was able to make the pitches to get out of jams.  In the fourth Crenshaw gave up back-to-back one out singles to Steven Tinoco and Maikel Gonzalez that put runners on the corners.  Crenshaw would strike out Jake Taylor and get Carlos Ramirez to fly out to end the inning.

                In the fifth Jairo Perez led off with a double.  A groundout by Omar Luna moved Perez to third.  Crenshaw would get Jesus Solorzano to line out to third and Joe Coyne to ground out to first to end the inning.

                His final small jam came in the seventh when Crenshaw gave up back-to-back two out singles to Perez and Luna, but got Solorzano to pop out to third to end the inning.

                The Saints got Crenshaw all the run support he needed in the second when Angelo Songco singled to right-center.  Ryan Lashley singled him to third.  Joey Paciorek then blasted a three-run homer to left, his fourth of the season, to make it 3-0.

                The Saints would tack on an insurance run in the ninth when Angelo Songco walked.  He was sacrificed to second by Lashley.  With two outs Steve Nikorak walked to put runners at first and second.  Anthony Phillips then hit a grounder to the right of second baseman Gonzalez, he dove and the ball went off his glove, for an error, into right-center scoring Songco. 

                The Saints have Monday off and are back home on Tuesday night at CHS Field to begin a three game series against the Sioux City Explorers at 7:05 p.m.  The Saints send LHP Kramer Sneed (12-2, 2.94) to the mound against Explorers LHP Ryan Strufing (1-2, 3.71).  It is Star Wars Night presented by AARP.