07/12/2018 | News release | Distributed by Public on 07/12/2018 21:55
The St. Paul Saints began a daunting 10-game roadtrip on Thursday night that will have them facing three teams with a combined win percentage of .636. They started it off with a bang. They walloped four home runs, two by Brady Shoemaker, and got 7.0 strong innings from Chris Nunn in a 9-2 victory at CommunityAmerica Ballpark over the Kansas City T-Bones. The win was the fourth in a row by the Saints and improved their record to 29-23.
The Saints trailed 1-0 in the third and scored their first run without the long ball. Aaron Gretz led off with a single to center. With one out he was sacrificed to second by Kyle Barrett and Burt Reynolds knocked home Gretz with a single to left-center tying the game at one. Reynolds now has an RBI in six straight games.
The T-Bones regained the lead in the fourth, but Nunn pitched around a major jam. Todd Cunningham, who came in hitting .402, led off with a walk. Nick Torres then hit a potential double play ball, but at the last moment the ball took a bad hop on shortstop Anthony Phillips. He was able to get his glove on it and keep the ball in the infield keeping runners at first and second. Former Saint Noah Perio Jr. then lined a single into left loading the bases. Nunn then settled down and got Taylor Featherston to ground into a 6-4-3 double play that scored a run making it 2-1. Nunn then fanned Dexter Kjerstad to end the inning.
The Saints built the momentum from there as they took the lead for good in the fifth. With two outs Max Murphy singled to right. Kyle Barrett, who had just two home runs in 266 professional games and had not homered since July 8, 2016, deposited a two-run homer to right, his first of the season, to give the Saints a 3-2 lead.
In the sixth Brady Shoemaker, a man more accustomed to hitting homers, crushed a solo shot to left, his first of the night and fourth of the season, making it 4-2 Saints. With two outs in the inning Matt Snyder hit a low liner over the right field wall for his first of the season to make it 5-2 Saints.
In the seventh Shoemaker came calling again. The Saints loaded the bases when Gretz was hit by a pitch, Barrett singled with one out and Reynolds walked. The Saints, who have not hit a grand slam since July 4, 2016, wouldn't do so on this night as a wild pitch scored Gretz to make it 6-2. The very next pitch, however, was drilled over the left-center field wall by Shoemaker, his second of the night and fifth of the season, making it 9-2. Shoemaker finished the night 2-3 with two home runs, four RBI and two runs scored. It was the first time the Saints homered four times in a game since July 21, 2017 at home vs. Salina.
That was more than enough for Nunn who worked around a second and third one out jam in the seventh by getting Tucker Pennell to pop out to third and striking out Dylan Tice looking. That ended Nunn's night as he went 7.0 innings allowing two runs on seven hits while walking two and striking out eight. He became the first Saints pitcher to go 7.0 innings since Eddie Medina's 7.0 inning complete game shutout in game two of a doubleheader on June 20 at Lincoln.
The same two teams meet in game two of the four game series on Friday night at CommunityAmerica Ballpark at 7:05 p.m. Both teams are TBA. The game can be heard on Alt 93.3 FM.