Birds Top Saints In Back-And-Forth Thriller
PHOTO: Josh Jurgens / Sioux Falls Canaries
SIOUX FALLS S.D. -- It was an old-fashioned Birdcage barn-burner for the Sioux Falls Canaries and St. Paul Saints on Thursday night. In the end, the Birds came out on top, and earned a series sweep.
Sioux Falls (4-2) knocked off St. Paul (2-4) 12-11 in the highest-scoring American Association game of the season so far. Logan Landon and Damek Tomscha homered for the Birds, who won their third game in a row.
Sioux Falls opened the scoring in the top of the third, plating three against Saints starter Eddie Medina. Back-to-back doubles from Mike Hart and KC Huth made it 1-0. Andrew Ely singled to put two men on, and two batters later Alay Lago hit a double of his own to the right-center field gap. That scored two more to make it 3-0 Birds.
The Saints responded immediately in the bottom half of the inning, scoring four runs off Birds starter Tyler Herron to take a 4-3 lead.
The Canaries took the lead back in the fourth in just two batters. Ryan Long led off the inning with a single, and Landon hit his first homer of the year to left. The two-run blast gave the Birds a 6-5 edge.
That lead also wouldn't last long. The Saints scored two in the bottom of the fourth, with the second run coming in on a throwing error from Huth in center field.
Herron left the game after four innings, allowing six runs (five earned) on 10 hits. He walked one and struck out four.
Medina retired the last six hitters he faced in six innings of work. He finished the game with five runs allowed on seven hits, walking one and striking out eight.
The Saints added two more runs in the sixth to take an 8-5 lead, but the Birds tied things up in dramatic fashion in the seventh. Jabari Henry started the rally with a one-out infield single, and Lago notched a base hit of his own. That brought up Tomscha, who hit a three-run homer over the right-center field wall.
The Canaries added four more runs in the eighth. Lago delivered a two-run single, followed by RBI singles from Tomscha and Clint Coulter. Tomscha finished the game with four RBIs; he has a team-leading nine on the season.
St. Paul would make things interesting in the late innings. Kevin Folman struck out the side in the seventh but allowed an RBI single to Chesny Young in the eighth. That prompted Birds manager Mike Meyer to bring in DJ Sharabi to pitch. Sharabi allowed a two-run home run to Troy Alexander to make it 12-11 Canaries.
Things were tense in the ninth, when St. Paul brought runners to first and third with one out against Canaries closer Keaton Steele. Saints designated hitter Chris Chinea hit a flare over the second-base bag that looked for a moment like a game-tying single, but Canaries second baseman Ryan Long made an impressive leaping catch for the out. The runner on first, Justin Byrd, had broken for second, and was doubled off to end the game.
The sweep is the first series victory of the year for the Birds, and their first sweep since May 20-22, 2018, against the Texas AirHogs.
The Canaries welcome the Winnipeg Goldeyes to the Birdcage on Friday at 7:05 p.m. It's Bark In The Park Night presented by Mini-Critters at the Birdcage; fans can bring their dogs to the stadium for $5, with the proceeds going to the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society. Grady Wood will pitch for Sioux Falls; Kevin McGovern will get the ball for Winnipeg. Birds fans can find links to watch and listen at sfcanaries.com.