ST. PAUL, MN (July 15, 2021) - The St. Paul Saints got 6.0 strong innings from Chandler Shepherd and the offense staked him to a seven run lead. In the end, the Saints hung on for a 9-5 victory over the Columbus Clippers on Thursday night at CHS Field to
ST. PAUL, MN (July 15, 2021) - The St. Paul Saints got 6.0 strong innings from Chandler Shepherd and the offense staked him to a seven run lead. In the end, the Saints hung on for a 9-5 victory over the Columbus Clippers on Thursday night at CHS Field to even their record at 31-31 and get to .500 at home (15-15) for the first time since they were 4-4.
The Saints used the long ball to get on the board in the second inning when Mark Contreras went the opposite way with a solo homer to left, his ninth of the season, giving the Saints a 1-0 lead.
Shepherd cruised through the first two and got into trouble in the third before getting a little help from his defense. Trenton Brooks reached on a two out infield single. Yu Chang then clubbed a double to right-center, but Jake Cave played the ball perfectly off the wall, hit the cutoff man JT Riddle, who threw a strike to the plate to nab Brooks to end the inning.
In the bottom of the third, Sherman Johnson led off with a walk and moved to second on a single to left by Jose Miranda. With one out, Mitch Garver made it 2-0 with a broken bat, looping single to left. Brent Rooker then drilled an RBI double that one hopped the wall in right-center to put the Saints up 3-0.
The Saints tacked on two more in the fourth as JT Riddle got it started with a triple down the right field line. Johnson knocked him home with a single to right-center making it 4-0. Jose Miranda drew a walk and two batters later Garver singled to left scoring Johnson to make it 5-0.
In the fifth the Saints loaded the bases with nobody out as Willians Astudillo led off with an infield single and Contreras and Drew Maggi walked. A ground ball double play off the bat of Riddle scored Astudillo to make it 6-0. Two batters later Miranda gave the Saints a 7-0 lead with a single to center.
The Clippers mounted a comeback and it started in the sixth with a solo homer from Alex Call, his third of the season, to make it 7-1.
The Clippers made it dangerously close in the seventh when the first three hitters reached on singles. Gavin Collins then drilled a grand slam over the left field wall to get the Clippers to within 7-5. That was the last batter Shepherd faced as he went 6.0+ strong innings giving up five runs on nine hits while walking one and striking out five.
The Saints added a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth. With Keon Broxton at first and one out, Mitch Garver singled to right and Brent Rooker walked to load the bases. Willians Astudillo hit a slow grounder to short as the Clippers got the force out at second, but the relay throw to first wound up in the Saints dugout as two runs scored increasing the lead to 9-5.
The same two teams meet in game four of the six-game series on Friday night at 7:05 p.m. The Saints send RHP Josh Winder (1-0, 3.52) to the mound against Clippers LHP Logan Allen (0-3, 13.50). The game can be seen on FOX 9+ and heard on KFAN Plus, 96.7 FM.