WINNIPEG, MB – The Winnipeg Goldeyes (19-20) lost 8-6 to the St. Paul Saints at Shaw Park on Thursday night.
Tied at 6-6 in the top of the ninth inning, JJ Gould drew a one-out walk and advanced to third when Kes Carter lined a single to right. The Goldeyes recorded the second out of the inning when Carter took off for second base. After catcher Kevin Garcia threw down to second, Gould started towards home plate. Andrew Sohn cut the ball off in front of the bag, and fired back to Garcia who then threw to Josh Mazzola at third to tag out Gould. Richard Prigatano worked a 3-0 count before drawing an intentional walk. Max Murphy then battled Victor Capellan for an eight-pitch at bat that resulted in a single to right that scored Carter with the go-ahead run. Prigatano scored an insurance run on a passed ball.
Winnipeg put the tying runs on base with one out in the bottom of the ninth before second baseman Luke Pettersen made a lunging grab on Josh Romanski’s chopper up the middle to start a game-ending double play.
Mike Devine (2-2) earned the win in relief for the Saints (21-18). Capellan (2-3) took the loss for the Goldeyes.
The Goldeyes jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning, sending 10 batters to the plate. Sohn and Dave Sappelt started the frame with singles. Romanski then lined a single to left-centre that scored Sohn with the game’s first run. Reggie Abercrombie made it 2-0 with a line drive single to centre, and the lead was stretched to three on an Eric Aguilera single to centre that plated Romanski. After Mazzola grounded into a double play, Grant Heyman hit a long single to left that scored Abercrombie from third. The Goldeyes extended the inning when Garcia reached on an error by third baseman Dante Bichette Jr., and McCann beat out a two-out, infield single that brought home Heyman to make it 5-0.
Burt Reynolds led off the top of the second with a home run to left that put the Saints on the board.
In the top of the fourth, a Prigatano walk and a Murphy single set up a three-run homer to left-centre by Reynolds that pulled the Saints within 5-4.
Garcia drew an 11-pitch, leadoff walk in the bottom of the fourth, took second on a wild pitch, and scored on a two-out single through the left side by Sappelt that re-extended the Goldeyes’ lead to 6-4.
Murphy tripled leading off the top of the sixth, and scored on a Reynolds groundout to shortstop for his fifth RBI of the game.
The Saints tied the game with an unearned run in the top of the seventh on a Prigatano infield single.
Rookie left-hander PJ Browne started for the Goldeyes in his professional debut. Browne took a no-decision, allowing four earned runs on six hits in five innings. Browne walked one, struck out one, and threw just 57 pitches.
John Straka started for the Saints and also took a no-decision, allowing five earned runs on 10 hits in five innings. Straka walked one and struck out two.
Cameron McVey pitched a scoreless inning of relief for the Goldeyes. Winnipeg’s defence turned three groundball double plays. Sappelt and Abercrombie each had three hits. Abercrombie stole second base in the bottom of the seventh for his 498th career steal. Reynolds now has eight home runs and 20 RBI in 21 career games against the Goldeyes.
Game two of the four-game series is Friday night at 7:05 p.m. The Goldeyes’ starting pitcher is to be announced. The Saints go with right-hander Ryan Zimmerman (1-0, 3.10). Tickets for all Goldeyes’ home games are on sale now by visiting www.ticketmaster.ca/Goldeyes, or visiting any Ticketmaster location, including the box office at Shaw Park.