The right-handed White Sox prospect allowed five hits over a season-high eight innings as Winston-Salem blanked visiting Potomac, 4-0, in the opening game of the best-of-5 Mills Cup Finals. He struck out six and did not walk a batter.
"[The long layoff] didn't affect me at all," Sauer said. "I did some long toss and tonight I was ready to go."
Sauer (1-0), who ranked second in the Class A Advanced Carolina League in fewest walks per inning, retired the first 15 batters he faced before yielding a leadoff single to P-Nats shortstop Jose Lozada in the sixth inning. He gave up another single in the frame, but induced an inning-ending double play from Sean Nicol.
The 24-year-old Arizona State product also managed to keep league MVP Tyler Moore in the park -- barely. Moore, who led the circuit with 31 homers, 43 doubles and 111 RBIs, doubled high off the right-center field wall in the seventh.
"I just tried to throw him fastballs low and in, low and away -- you have to throw good pitches to good hitters," Sauer said. "Fortunately, our park plays pretty long to right-center."
Sauer got 14 groundball outs and four flyouts in the game, throwing just 82 pitches -- 62 of them for strikes. He allowed one Potomac runner past second base.
"I was ready to go back out in the ninth, but [manager] Joe [McEwing] wanted to get our closer some work," he said.
Tyson Corley struck out two while closing out the game with a perfect ninth.
Five Dash hitters collected multiple hits. Leadoff man Kenneth Williams led the way, going 3-for-4 with a double, and designated hitter Ozzie Lewis delivered a solo homer and a single.
Potomac starter Danny Rosenbaum (0-1) took the loss, allowing one run on six hits over 4 1/3 frames. The left-hander struck out three and walked one.
The Dash have won 10 straight games at home going back to the regular season, and they will look to put the Nationals in a 2-0 hole at BB&T Ballpark on Tuesday before the series shifts to Potomac. Dylan Axelrod gets the start for Winston-Salem against Potomac's Trevor Holder.
After Sauer's gem Monday night, Winston-Salem is two games away from its first Carolina League title since 2003.