- PAUL, MN(September 12, 2018) –All season long Eddie Medina was the most consistent pitcher for the St. Paul Saints. He finished the season with the third best ERA in the American Association and on Wednesday night in the biggest game of the season he showed the Kansas City T-Bones why he was so dominant in 2018. He dazzled for 8.0 shutout innings allowing just three hits and the Saints got back-to-back home runs from Zach Walters and Dante Bichette Jr. as they blanked the Kansas City T-Bones 6-0 at CHS Field in front of 3,949 in Game 2 of the American Association Finals to even the series up at a game apiece.
A night after the T-Bones slugged 20 hits, Medina retired the first eight men he faced before walking Anthony Phillips with two outs in the third. Ryan Brett followed with a single to left-center and as the throw went to third, Brett took second. The T-Bones, who scores six of their 11 runs on Tuesday with two outs, would be no match for Medina who got Mason Davis to fly out to end the inning.
In the fifth Medina allowed a leadoff single by Keith Curcio, but got Alay Lago to foul out and then fanned Danny Hayes and Phillips to end the inning.
In the seventh Medina walked the leadoff batter Noah Perio Jr. Adrian Nieto tried to bunt, but catcher Justin O’Conner pounced on the ball just in front of the plate and fired down to second for the force out. With two outs Lago singled into right-center and Nieto attempted to go to third, but a perfect relay throw from the second baseman Walters erased Nieto to end the inning. Medina went 8.0 shutout innings allowing three hits while walking two and striking out five.
The Saints got all the offense they needed in the fourth when Max Murphy ripped a double off the glove of the third baseman Mason Davin. Murphy went to third on a passed ball and scored on a sacrifice fly from Kyle Barrett making it 1-0.
In the fifth Justin O’Conner led off with a walk and moved to second on a single by Nathaniel Maggio. Dan Motl then laid down a bunt that was fielded by the pitcher Barrett Atkins. He tried to get O’Conner at third, but his throw was too late. Joey Wong’s RBI fielder’s choice made it 2-0 Saints.
In the sixth the Saints used the long ball against left-handed reliever Joe Filomino, who had a 1.31 ERA in the regular season. Shoemaker drew a one out walk. The switch-hitting Walters, batting from the right side, crushed a two-run homer to left, his first of the playoffs, making it 4-0. The very next hitter, Bichette Jr. smashed one on top of the Treasure Island Berm in left, his first of the playoffs, making it 5-0. The Saints had two back-to-back home runs in the regular season.
The Saints scored their final run in the seventh with two outs. Murphy singled to center. He advanced to second on a wild pitch and then to third on another wild pitch. Barrett dunked one just over the head of the second baseman Lago which scored Murphy for that gave the Saints their six run lead.
Zack Jones closed out the game for the Saints with a perfect ninth.
The shutout was the third for the Saints in the 2018 playoffs, the most in franchise history and their first shutout in the Finals since Game 4 in 2004, the last time they won a Championship.
The series has an off day on Thursday and will head to CommunityAmerica Ballpark for Game 3 on Friday night at 7:05 p.m. The Saints send RHP Trevor Foss (4-2, 3.04, 1-0, 0.00) to the mound against T-Bones RHP Tommy Collier (12-3, 3.11, 1-1, 3.00).