St.PAUL, MN(July 18, 2019) –It was a preview of what will take place at CHS Field on Tuesday night when the St. Paul Saints host the 2019 American Association All-Star Game. Saints All-Star DH Brady Shoemaker vs. Kansas City T-Bones All-Star pitcher Tommy Collier. Shoemaker got the upper hand blasting two home runs as the Saints hung on for an 8-6 victory on Thursday night at CHS Field in front of 8,453.
The Saints jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first when Chris Baker was hit by a pitch and Shoemaker crushed a two-run shot to left, his first of the night and 12th of the season.
They added to the lead in the second off of Collier. With one out, the Saints new right fielder and former league MVP, Josh Romanski, clubbed a double off the wall in right-center. With two outs Matt Morales walked. Dan Motl came through with an RBI single to left making it 3-0. Baker followed with a two-run double to left giving the Saints a 5-0 lead.
Benji Waite, whom the Saints signed prior to the game, was strong for the first two innings and retired the first two hitters in the third, but then ran into trouble. Dylan Tice drew a walk and Roy Morales singled to right. Chris Colabello doubled home both runners making it 5-2.
In the fourth, Waite once again retired the first two hitters before loading the bases. Ramsey Romano singled, Danny Mars doubled and Tice was hit by a pitch. Ryan Smith came out of the bullpen and got Morales to ground out to second to end the inning.
The teams traded solo homers in the fifth with Daniel Nava homering off of Smith in the top of the inning, his third of the season, to cut the Saints lead to 5-3. Smith went 2.1 innings allowing one run on two hits while striking out three.
In the bottom of the inning Shoemaker came calling again against Collier blasting a solo homer to right, his second of the night and 13th of the season, pushing the Saints lead to 6-3. Shoemaker finished the night 2-4 with two home runs, three RBI and two runs scored.
The T-Bones cut the Saints lead to one in the seventh as Morales led off the inning against Saints reliever Mike Devine with a single. He stole second and Colabello walked. Casey Gillaspie’s single scored Morales making it 6-4. With runners at the corners and nobody out, Devine got a double play off the bat of Nava that scored a run making it 6-5.
The Saints, however, responded as they had all night long with two of their own in the bottom of the inning. Motl led off with a single and scored on a double by Baker making it 7-5. With one out John Silviano doubled home Baker giving the Saints an 8-5 lead.
The T-Bones continued to put the pressure on the Saints bullpen in the eighth. With one out Mars singled and moved to second on a single from Tice. Morales then lined out to short, but Colabello came through with an RBI single making it 8-6. Gillaspie flew out to end the inning.
Todd Van Steensel came on to close the game out in the ninth, but needed his defense. Nava led off with a single to right. A groundout by Davis moved Nava to second. Then Motl made the play of the night on a sinking fly ball by Taylor Sparks to center. Motl laid out on a full extension head-first dive to make an incredible catch for the second out of the inning. Van Steensel picked up his 14th save on a groundout by Ramsey Romano.
The Saints are now 14-3-1 in series this season and 9-0-1 in series at CHS Field. The only series they didn’t win was their first, splitting against the Milwaukee Milkmen.
The Saints begin a three-game series at Newman Outdoor Field on Friday night at 7:00 p.m. against the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks. The Saints send RHP Ryan Zimmerman (4-1, 3.71) to the mound against RedHawks RHP Ryan Williams (4-0, 2.83). The game can be heard on KFAN Plus, 96.7 FM.