The Winnipeg Goldeyes have lost a little breathing room atop the North Division.
Winnipeg pitchers allowed 11 hits and issued six walks in an 8-5 loss to the St. Paul Saints Tuesday night. After Tuesday's slate of games, the Saints sit only one game behind the Goldeyes for first place in the division.
"They are already good at swinging the bats so once you give them free passes and they get guys on base like that, an eight-run game is going to happen," said Goldeyes pitching coach Jamie Vermilyea on the TSN 1290 postgame show. "We got to make them earn their way on."
The Goldeyes started the scoring in the second when Nick Liles singled to score Leonard Davis from third base. However, the Saints responded in a big way in the third inning. Craig Brazell cleared the bases with a grand slam home run off Winnipeg starter Aaron Correa to put the home side up 4-1.
Winnipeg fought their way back into the game. Liles collected his second run-scoring single in as many trips in the fourth to narrow the Saints lead to two runs. Then in the next inning, Fehlandt Lentini and Luis Alen tied the game up with back-to-back two out RBI base hits.
St. Paul quickly regained the lead in their half of the fifth. The Saints loaded the bases against Goldeyes reliever Kaohi Downing and scored three times in the inning. They added one more in the sixth off a Willie Cabrera RBI infield single to make it an 8-4 ballgame.
In the seventh, Leonard Davis chipped away at the lead by ripping a solo home run that just stayed inside the foul pole. But the Goldeyes could not generate any more offence in the game's final two innings and lost by three runs.
Saints starter Anthony Claggett improved to 4-1 with the victory. He allowed four runs in six innings of work, allowing nine hits and three walks while striking out four. Matt Meyer earned his seven save of the season, striking out two in the ninth.
Downing took the loss for the Goldeyes. He allowed three runs in one inning of relief. Lentini continues to swing a hot bat for Winnipeg, going 3-for-4 at the plate to extend his hitting streak to seven games.
The rubber match of the series goes tomorrow night at Midway Stadium in St. Paul. Justin Garcia gets the nod for Winnipeg. He will match up against Saints right-hander and former Major Leaguer Mark Hamburger.
Game time is set for 7:00 p.m. and you can catch all the action with Paul Edmonds on TSN 1290, beginning with the pre-game show at 6:30 p.m.