WINNIPEG, MB – The Winnipeg Goldeyes (48-32) beat the St. Paul Saints 6-3 at Shaw Park on Monday night.
Trailing 3-0 in the bottom of the eighth inning against former Major League right-hander Mark Hamburger, the Goldeyes rallied for six runs to take the lead. Wes Darvill led off with a sharp single through the left side and took second on a single to right from Mason Katz. Jordan Ebert followed with a line drive single down the right field line that scored Darvill and put the tying and go-ahead runs on the corners.
Andrew Sohn made it four consecutive hits with a single up the middle that plated Katz. Two batters later, Josh Romanski drew a four-pitch walk against left-handed reliever Kenneth Frosch that loaded the bases. After right-hander Vinny Nittoli relieved Frosch, Reggie Abercrombie ripped a single through the left side on an 0-2 count that scored Ebert and Sohn to give the Goldeyes a 4-3 lead. A wild pitch advanced Romanski and Abercrombie, which prompted an intentional walk to Shawn Pleffner. David Bergin stretched the lead to 6-3 with a two-run single to left.
“Just a fantastic game,” said Goldeyes’ manager Rick Forney. “Had really good pace. Pitchers were both really great. A lot of things are happening with our club right now, and you can see that our team is committed to playing until we run out of outs. We have some depth in our lineup. The bottom of the order set up the big guys and let them drive in runs.”
Victor Capellan struck out two during a perfect top of the ninth inning to earn his fifth save of the year.
“You just have to stay patient,” said Forney on approaching Hamburger. “His command was great. That guy knows what he’s doing out there. He did everything. You just have to wait, and sometimes your opportunity isn’t going to come until late in the game. They waited for pitches over the plate and got rewarded for it.”
Goldeyes’ starter Kevin McGovern (10-2) picked up his 10th win of the season, allowing three earned runs on five hits over eight innings. McGovern walked none and struck out eight, including the final five batters to face him. McGovern did not allow a base hit in six of his eight innings, and retired the final 10 batters in a row.
The Saints built a 3-0 lead in the top of the fifth. Brady Shoemaker led off with a double to right-centre, took third on a flyball to centre from Tony Thomas, and scored the game’s first run when Kes Carter lined a single down the right field line. On the next pitch, JJ Gould hit a two-run home run to left field.
Hamburger (12-5) took the loss, allowing four earned runs on six hits in seven and one-third innings. Hamburger walked two and struck out two. Hamburger had held the Goldeyes to two hits over the first seven innings while pitching on three days of rest.
With the win, the Goldeyes increased their lead to five and a half games ahead of the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, and six games ahead of the Saints in the American Association North Division. The Goldeyes have won 13 of their last 15 games, and 29 of their last 41.
Game two of the four-game series is Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. Mikey O’Brien (7-4, 5.16) starts for Winnipeg. Tickets for all Goldeyes’ home games are on sale now by calling 1-855-GOLDEYE, visiting www.ticketmaster.ca/goldeyes, or visiting any Ticketmaster location, including the box office at Shaw Park.
For information on Winnipeg Goldeyes’ season tickets, 10-game mini packs, and group outings, call the Goldeyes’ office at (204) 982-BASE or visit the Goldeyes’ official website at www.goldeyes.com