ST. PAUL, MN (August 31, 2023) - CHS Field is proving to be a major advantage for the St. Paul Saints. Only two teams in all of Minor League Baseball had more wins than the Saints 42 at home entering Thursday night. They utilized that advantage to come back from
_ST. PAUL, MN _*(August 31, 2023) - *CHS Field is proving to be a major advantage for the St. Paul Saints. Only two teams in all of Minor League Baseball had more wins than the Saints 42 at home entering Thursday night. They utilized that advantage to come back from a four-run deficit and win it on a walk-off single by Hernán Pérez in the 10th, 8-7 over the Columbus Clippers in front of 6,066. The win improves the Saints to 32-22 in the second half and a franchise record 22 games over .500 on the season, 75-53.
In the top of the 10th with the placed runner Bryan Lavastida at second, reliever Michael Boyle struck out Johnathan Rodriguez. Boyle then balked Lavastida at third after engaging a third time. With the infield in, Johnkensy Noel hit a grounder to the shortstop Brooks Lee who tried to throw behind Lavastida at third, but he was able to dive back to the bag as Noel reached first on the fielder’s choice. Boyle, however, would get George Valera to ground into an inning ending double play.
In the bottom of the 10th inning with Lee the placed runner at second Trevor Larnach struck out and a groundout by Anthony Prato moved Lee to third. The Clippers elected to intentionally walk DaShawn Keirsey Jr. putting runners at the corners. Jair Camargo then walked to load the bases. Pérez won it for the Saints with an RBI single into right.
The Clippers put up a crooked number in the first inning, jumping out to a 4-0 lead. With one out, José Tena hit a solo homer to right, his fourth of the season, making it 1-0. With two outs Rodriguez was hit by a pitch, Noel reached on a throwing error by Lee at short, and Valera hit a three-run homer to left, his seventh of the season, giving the Clippers a 4-0 lead.
The Saints got on the board in the third with a Chris Williams solo homer to left, his 20th of the season, cutting the deficit to 4-1. Williams became just the second player in Saints Triple-A franchise history to hit 20 homers in a season joining Brent Rooker who hit 20 in 2021.
Zach Collins started off the fourth inning for the Clippers with a double to right-center and he came around to score on a double from Daniel Schneeman increasing the lead to 5-1.
The Saints responded in the bottom of the inning when Trevor Larnach led off with a double, moved to third on a fly out by Anthony Prato, and scored on DaShawn Keirsey Jr’s. groundout to make it 5-2.
In the sixth, the Saints grabbed the lead for the first time on the night with a big five-run inning. Alex Kirilloff led off the inning with a double to right-center. He finished the night 3-4 with a double and a run scored. With one out, Larnach doubled him home getting the Saints to within 5-3. A walk to Prato and a single to right by Keirsey Jr. loaded the bases. Keirsey Jr. finished the night 3-4 with a triple, RBI, and a run scored. Camargo then hit a high tapper back to the mound that had a chance to be a double play, but pitcher Zach Plesac dropped the ball and his only play was to first as Larnach scored making it 5-4. That proved costly because the next hitter, Pérez, drilled a three-run homer to left-center, his ninth of the season, giving the Saints a 7-5 lead.
The Clippers knotted the game at seven in the seventh as Raynel Delgado led off the inning with a single to right. He stole second and went to third on a single to left by Brayan Rocchio. Rocchio stole second and a sacrifice fly from Tena scored Delgado and sent Rocchio to third cutting the Saints lead to 7-6. A wild pitch by Andrew Bechtold scored Rocchio tying the game at seven.
Louie Varland tossed 4.0 innings out of relief allowing one run on three hits while walking one and striking out three.
The same two teams meet in game four of a six-game series at CHS Field on Friday night at 7:07 p.m. The Saints send RHP Simeon Woods Richardson (5-6, 5.38) to the mound against Clippers RHP Chris Vallimont (3-6, 5.50). The game can be seen on the Saints Broadcast Network, cable access channels in and around the Twin Cities, the Bally Live app (free), and MiLB.TV (subscription), and heard on KFAN Plus, 96.7 FM.