WINNIPEG, MB – The Winnipeg Goldeyes (15-13) lost 6-5 to the St. Paul Saints at Shaw Park on Friday night.
Trailing for much of the night, the Goldeyes battled back within one run on three separate occasions before Saints’ (20-9) closer Ryan Rodebaugh nailed down his seventh save of the year in the bottom of the ninth.
“Great game,” said Goldeyes’ manager Rick Forney . “It was an exciting game. If you’re a fan, you want to come watch those. We came up on the short side for a number of reasons. We failed on situational hitting in a couple innings there. We just didn’t quite do enough offensively today, and we just didn’t make good pitches with two outs and two strikes to close out innings. “Their two-out RBIs–all through the game–were the difference in them winning tonight.”
Tied at 1-1 in the top of the fourth, Angelo Songco doubled and went to third on an infield single from Tony Thomas. Thomas stole second before Goldeyes’ starter Duke von Schamann (2-3) struck out Willie Argo. Tony Caldwell gave the Saints a 3-1 lead with a line drive single to right that was nearly caught by a diving David Rohm. After Chad Christensen struck out looking, back-to-back singles from Aaron Gretz and Breland Almadova extended the lead to 4-1.
Rohm blasted a two-out, two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth to cut the lead to 4-3.
The Saints scratched out a run in the top of the sixth. With two outs and no one on base, Gretz doubled down the right field line, took third on a single to right from Almadova, and scored on a groundball single to centre from Brady Burzynski.
Reggie Abercrombie led off the bottom of the sixth with a triple off the wall in left-centre. Wes Darvill drove in Abercrombie with a line drive single to left.
“Reggie backed up yesterday’s performance with a good one today,” said Forney. “He’s doing a good job of not expanding the strike zone on himself, and he’s getting some pitches right now, and he’s taking advantage of it. We’re glad to see him get three big hits for us today.
“Wes chipped in three today. (He) played good defence. Wes is similar to Reggie, except from the left side. He’s one of those guys that likes to get in the box and swing the bat, and if they cut down their swing zone just a little bit and made some people make some quality pitches or beat them in the strike zone, they’ll be able to get their hits. Hopefully today was a good start for Wes and gets him rolling.”
Eric Eadington pitched one and one-third scoreless innings over the sixth and seventh, while Cameron McVey chipped in a perfect eighth to keep the Goldeyes within one run.
In the top of the ninth, Burzynski doubled with one out. After Nate Hanson popped out to shortstop, Songco singled on a groundball to left to drive in Burzynski with an insurance run.
Facing Rodebaugh in the bottom of the ninth, Adam Heisler lined a one-out, solo home run to right field to once again pull the Goldeyes within one. Rodebaugh recovered to retire the next two batters and end the game.
Songco lifted a solo home run to right in the top of the second to give the Saints an early 1-0 lead.
The Goldeyes tied it in the bottom of the third. Tanner Murphy drew a leadoff walk, went to third when Heisler doubled down the right field line, and scored the tying run on Maikol Gonzalez’s sacrifice fly to right.
Heisler, Abercrombie, and Darvill each had three hits in the game. Heisler has hit safely in 13 straight. Darvill made a stellar defensive play on Chad Christensen in the top of the sixth. Christensen deadened a bunt halfway up the third base line that Darvill barehanded and threw off-balance to Jacob Rogers at first base to record the out. Gonzalez also delivered a highlight-worthy stop, robbing Thomas of a base hit in the top of the ninth. Thomas hit a sharp groundball towards centre field that Gonzalez stopped with a dive to his left. Gonzalez flipped the ball to Casio Grider at second base while still lying on his stomach to complete an inning-ending force play.
von Schamann took the loss, allowing five earned runs on 13 hits in five and two-thirds innings. von Schamann walked none and struck out four.
John Straka (4-1) earned the win for the Saints, allowing four earned runs on nine hits in five-plus innings. Straka walked two and struck out three.
Game two of the series is Saturday evening at 6:05 p.m. Edwin Carl (2-1, 3.45) faces former Major League right-hander Mark Hamburger (4-0, 3.18).
Tickets for all Goldeyes’ home 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 season tickets, 10-Game Mini Packs, or group outings, call the Goldeyes’ office at (204) 982-2273.