The St. Paul Saints led for most of the game on Thursday night, but after giving away the lead late to the Sioux Falls Canaries, they were able to pull out the win, thanks to a timely grand slam from Zach Walters in the bottom of the eighth inning.
The inning started with one out when Joey Wong hit a double to left field. He scored when Max Murphy singled to center field, with Murphy taking second base on the throw to the plate. He advanced to third on a single to left field from Kyle Barrett before Burt Reynolds struck out swinging for the second out of the inning.
The Canaries decided to take a chance and not pitch to Brady Shoemaker, putting him on via an intentional walk. That decision cost them dearly, as Walters stepped up to the plate and ripped a monstrous grand slam to right field to put the Saints solidly in the lead. They were unable to gain any more runs, as Dante Bichette Jr. struck out swinging to end the frame.
The Saints had been leading for the majority of the night, until the seventh when Patrick Fiala led off by drawing a leadoff walk. After advancing to second on a Maxx Garrett single, both runners advanced on a sacrifice bunt from Jordan Smith. Fiala came in to score on a single from Dan Motl, while Garrett scored when David Bergin drew a bases-loaded walk against relief pitcher Beck Wheeler.
He was able to slip out of the inning by getting Jabari Henry to strike out swinging.
In the eighth, Jordan Dean led off the inning by hitting a home run into the Canaries bullpen in left field to put the Birds in the lead. Saints manager George Tsamis then elected to bring in Ken Frosch, who retired the next three batters to end the inning.
That set up Walters for his ninth home run of the season, and fourth with the Saints since being acquired from Kansas City on July 8.
In the ninth, Frosch got Smith to strike out swinging for the first out before being pulled in favor of right-handed pitcher Andrew Thome. The first batter he faced was Motl, who struck out swinging for the second out of the inning. That brought up Mitch Glasser as the last hope for the Canaries. He ended the game with a groundout to second base to give the Saints the series win over the Canaries.
The Saints remain at CHS Field for a two-game series with the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks starting on Friday night. The Saints will kick off the series by sending RHP Jake Matthys to the mound. Michael Tamburino will start on the mound for the RedHawks. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.
- Justin O’Conner made his return to the Saints lineup after missing the last two games with a case of food poisoning. He went 2-for-4 on the night with a home run in the fourth and a double in the fifth inning.
- The Saints hit four home runs on the night to tie their season record for most home runs in a game. The last time they hit four long balls was on July 12 in Kansas City. Walters’ grand slam was also the first grand slam of the season for the Saints, and first since the 2016 season.
- Nathaniel Maggio extended his hitting streak to 18 games with a single in the second inning. The streak is the longest hit streak of the season for the Saints.
- The two-game series with the RedHawks comes after the one-game set with them during the week of the Fourth of July. The final two games of that series were played in Fargo, leaving the Saints two home games short, hence the rare Sunday off day that comes as a result.
- Sunday will be the second consecutive Sunday where the Saints will not have a game. This is the first time in recent memory that this has happened, according to Saints broadcaster and vice president of media relations Sean Aronson.