ST. PAUL, MN (September 2, 2023) - The St. Paul Saints entered play on Saturday night with the third most runs scored in the International League. The Columbus Clippers entered play with the seventh highest ERA in the league. None of that mattered as the Saints collected just six hits,
_ST. PAUL, MN _*(September 2, 2023) - *The St. Paul Saints entered play on Saturday night with the third most runs scored in the International League. The Columbus Clippers entered play with the seventh highest ERA in the league. None of that mattered as the Saints collected just six hits, five of them singles, in a 4-1 loss at CHS Field. The loss drops the Saints to 32-24 in the second half.
Saints starter Randy Dobnak was tremendous, giving the team the quality start they needed after going extra innings in three of their last four games. He made just two mistakes on the night. The Clippers grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second via a solo home run from Zach Collins, his 16th of the season.
George Valera gave the Clippers a 2-0 lead with a solo homer to right-center in the fourth, his eighth of the season. Dobnak went 6.0 innings allowing two runs on six hits while walking one and striking out five. It was Dobnak’s third quality start this season and the 16th for the Saints. They are just 7-9 when getting a quality start.
The Saints broke through in the fifth with a solo homer from Major League rehabber Alex Kirilloff, his fourth with the Saints, cutting the deficit to 2-1.
The Clippers would put the game away in the eighth with a pair of insurance runs. With one out Kyle Manzardo doubled to right-center off reliever Austin Schulfer. A wild pitch moved Manazardo to third, but Schulfer got a pop out that held Manzardo at third. The Saints went to their bullpen for Ronny Henriquez. He gave up a single to Johnkensy Noel that ricocheted off his leg, caromed to the shortstop Hernán Pérez whose throw to first went into foul territory allowing Noel to take second and giving the Clippers a 3-1 lead. Valera followed with an RBI single to center putting the Clippers up 4-1.
The same two teams meet in the finale of the six-game series on Sunday evening at CHS Field at 5:07 p.m. The Saints send RHP Patrick Murphy (6-2, 3.56) to the mound against Clippers LHP Daniel Norris (4-4, 5.60). The game can be seen on the CW Network, the Bally Live app (free), and MiLB.TV (subscription), and heard on KFAN Plus, 96.7 FM.