WINNIPEG, MB – The Winnipeg Goldeyes lost 1-0 to the St. Paul Saints in Game One of the American Association Division Series at Shaw Park on Thursday night.
The Saints lead the best-of-five series 1-0.
Ryan Cavan drove in the game’s only run with a sacrifice fly in the top of the third. Breland Almadova was hit by a pitch leading off, took second on a wild pitch, and advanced to third on Alonzo Harris’s groundball to second. Cavan then lifted a flyball to deep left to bring in Almadova.
“(It was) a tough one,” said Goldeyes’ manager Rick Forney . “We just couldn’t get the two-out hits that we’ve been really good at getting all season long. We had an opportunity in the first, which is important. Our first game of the playoffs, you want to get out of the gates fast, and hopefully you can come up with those big two-out hits to get on the board early and get some momentum on your side. We just couldn’t get it done. We had an opportunity in the first, had an opportunity in the second, we didn’t get a two-out hit in the eighth, and we didn’t get a two-out hit in the ninth.”
Goldeyes’ starter Mikey O’Brien (0-1) took the tough luck loss, allowing just the one earned run on only three hits over seven innings. O’Brien walked four and struck out five. O’Brien pitched around a leadoff double by Nate Hanson in the fourth, retiring the next three batters in a row. In the top of the seventh, the Goldeyes’ defence helped O’Brien escape a first and second jam with no outs when Josh Romanski made a running catch on a line drive from Alonzo Harris. Romanski doubled off Trever Adams at second base following the catch, while O’Brien retired Cavan on a lineout to right field to end the inning.
“I thought he did a great job,” said Forney on his starting pitcher. “The smallest things, unfortunately, can cost you a game, like today. He was fantastic today. He did a great job competing. (He) gave us seven good innings.”
Victor Capellan and Eric Eadington combined for a scoreless top of the eighth. Eadington worked a perfect ninth with two strikeouts to keep the score at 1-0.
“Victor came in and gave us a good two outs,” added Forney. “Eadington got Songco to get us through the eighth, and then he gave us a 1-2-3 ninth to keep us alive, so the pitching was really good today.”
In the bottom of the ninth, Romanski led off with a single to left on an 0-2 pitch from reliever Caleb Thielbar. After Ryan Rodebaugh was summoned from the bullpen, David Rohm hit a line drive single to centre that moved Romanski to second. Casio Grider laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Romanski and Rohm, prompting the Saints to intentionally walk Wes Darvill. Rodebaugh came back to strike out pinch hitter Jacob Rogers, and recorded the save when Adam Heisler was narrowly thrown out at first on a groundball to second base.
Mark Hamburger (1-0) started for the Saints and earned the win, keeping the Goldeyes scoreless on seven hits over eight innings. Hamburger walked none and struck out two. With runners on first and second with two outs in the first, Hamburger was helped when Almadova made a leaping catch to rob Romanski of an extra base hits and two RBI. Almadova caught the ball mid-air before slamming into the right-centre field fence and hanging on as he landed on the warning track.
“St. Paul pitched well today,” said Forney. “Tip your cap to them. When you face Hamburger and you do get a guy on first–even though we’re a pretty good base running team, we can steal bases–he kind of negates all that, because (of) his ability to hold runners. You’re not really going to get opportunities to steal bags on him, so you’ve got to string together two or three good at-bats to score off him, and hopefully somebody along the way is going to stick one in the gap or hit one over the fence. It’s tough to score on him.”
Game Two of the American Association Division Series between the Winnipeg Goldeyes and St. Paul Saints is Friday night at Shaw Park at 7:05 p.m. Edwin Carl (10-6, 4.70) takes the mound for Winnipeg. The Saints go with right-hander Robert Coe (11-3, 4.24).
American Association Division Series Schedule
Game 1 – Thursday, September 8th – Saints 1 – Goldeyes 0
Game 2 – Friday, September 9th – Shaw Park (7:05 p.m.)
Game 3 – Saturday, September 10th – CHS Field (7:05 p.m.)
Game 4* – Sunday, September 11th – CHS Field (5:05 p.m.)
Game 5* – Monday, September 12th – CHS Field (7:05 p.m.)
Tickets for all home playoff games are on sale now by calling 1-855-GOLDEYE, visiting www.goldeyes.com, or stopping by any Ticketmaster location, including the box office at Shaw Park. For information on 2017 season tickets, 10-Game Mini Packs, or group outings, call the Goldeyes’ office at (204) 982-2273.