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Minor League Report (9/23): Saints Ride the High of the Long Ball


While the Kernels and Wind Surge spent the day traveling and resting between playoff games, the St. Paul Saints claimed an incredible come-from-behind victory in Lowertown. Get a rundown of the Saints' electric win and previews of tomorrow's playoff games here!

SAINTS SENTINEL
St. Paul 7, Iowa 5
Box Score

After trailing early in the ballgame, the St. Paul Saints came roaring back, using the longball and solid relief pitching to earn a confidence-building victory over the Cubs.

 

The I-Cubs jumped out to an early lead, plating four runs in the first three frames off of starting pitcher Bryan Sammons. In what looked to be a runaway game, B.J. Boyd ignited a flame for the Saints in the bottom of the third by crushing a line drive solo homer over the left field wall. 

St. Paul decreased the lead to one in the fifth when Jimmy Kerrigan led off with a triple that was followed up with a Ben Rortvedt homer in the next at-bat. Momentum continued to sway towards the Saints in the sixth. Jose Miranda led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a passed ball in the next at-bat. That at-bat belonged to Tomas Telis, who connected on a 2-2 pitch to punch an RBI single to center that scored Miranda and tied the game at 4. 

The draw wouldn't last for long. 

With Telis on base, Mark Contreras rocked a 3-1 pitch over the right field wall to give the Saints a 6-4 lead. The monumental home run was Contreras' 17th on the season. His 17 blasts trail only Brent Rooker (20) and Jimmy Kerrigan (19) for the Saints this season. Contreras leads the Saints with 58 runs and 59 RBI. 

After using the long ball early the Saints relied on small ball to scrap another run across in the sixth. B.J. Boyd led the inning off with a single and followed up by swiping second base. Drew Stankiewicz punched a fly ball deep enough to move Boyd to third in the next at-bat. After Jose Miranda reached on a hit-by-pitch Tomas Telis knocked an RBI single past the infield to score Boyd. 

After Sammons' rocky start Chandler Shepherd came in and dominated, pitching 3 2/3 innings of one-hit, scoreless ball, striking out four and walking one. Yennier Cano followed Shepherd with 1 1/3 innings of one-run, one-hit ball while striking out two, Cano faced adversity in the eighth after walking the first two batters and giving up a run. Yet with runners on base, Cano struck out the final batter to get out of the jam. Ryan Mason came into the game to shut the door in the ninth. After giving up a leadoff single to Ian Miller Mason diced, delivering with a strikeout, pop fly, and another strikeout to earn his seventh save of the season. 

St. Paul's win was sweet, yet the fact that the team tallied three home runs is even sweeter. On Wednesday the Saints announced that $50 would be donated to ACES4KIDS every time a Saints player hits a home run in the final ten games of the season. ACES (Athletes Committed to Educating Students) is a Twin Cities non-profit dedicated to tackling the academic opportunity gap and preparing young learners to succeed in school, career, and community. Tonight's three homers are the first for the Saints on the campaign, tallying $150. The partnership is part of the Triple-A "Homers that Help" initiative and MLB will donate an additional $5,000 to the charity of choice for whatever participating team hits the most homers in the stretch. 

WIND SURGE WISDOM
Travel Day

After dropping the first two games against NW Arkansas in a best-of-five series, the Surge head back to Wichita for game three of the Double-A Central Championship Series. Friday night's game will feature Austin Schulfer (6-8, 4.34 ERA) on the bump pitching against Drew Parrish (6-4, 2.83 ERA) of the Naturals. 

Parrish has faced the Surge three times this season, going 0-1 with a 5.27 ERA in 20 1/3 innings. In that span he gave up 15 hits and seven earned runs while striking up 24 and walking four. Likewise, Schulfer has faced the Naturals three times this season, going 1-1 with a 22.22 ERA in 10 2.3 innings. The Plover, Wisconsin native has given up 13 hits and 11 runs to NW Arkansas while striking out 15 and walking nine. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05pm CST. Tickets are still available and the game can be viewed on Milb.com.

KERNELS NUGGETS
Travel Day

After winning game one thanks to a Jair Camargo homer the Kernels dropped game two at Quad Cities and come home for game three of the High-A Central Championship Series. Casey Legumina (4-2, 3.28 ERA, mostly in Ft. Myers) of Cedar Rapids will face off against Dante Biasi (5-2, 377 ERA) of Quad Cities. 

Legumina's start will be his first against the River Bandits after being called up to High-A from Ft. Myers on September 13th. Biasi has been a staple for Quad Cities all season and has faced the Kernels five times, going 1-0 with a 4.32 ERA. He's given up 11 hits and seven earned runs against Cedar Rapids while striking out 13 and walking 11. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30pm CST. Tickets are still available and the game can be viewed on Milb.com.

TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY
Hitter of the Day: Chandler Shepherd (St. Paul)- 3.2 IP, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 H, BB, 4 K
Pitcher of the Day: B.J Boyd (St. Paul)- 3-for-4, HR, 2 R, RBI, SB

PROSPECT SUMMARY
#6 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 1-for-3, R
#13 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 0-for-3, 2 K
#16 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - 1-for-3, 2B, 2 R, BB, 2 K
 

FRIDAY'S PROBABLE STARTERS
Iowa @ St. Paul (7:05 PM CST) - LHP Charlie (6-4, 3.88 ERA)
NW Arkansas @ Wichita (7:05 PM CST) - RHP Austin Schulfer (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Cedar Rapids @ Quad Cities (6:30 PM CST) - RHP Casey Legumina (0-0, 0.00 ERA)


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16 minutes ago, Aerodeliria said:

What does Jimmy Kerrigan have to do to get a look with the big boys?

Not sure, but he's been rock-solid all season. Strikes me as a AAAA guy but doesn't have the flashiness of some of the others who have seen time with the parent club. Tough to argue with his stats though.

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