Blackwell And The Birds' Snap 7-Game Skid with 6-0 Win In St. Paul
By: JJ Hartigan
ST. PAUL, MN- Starting pitcher Shawn Blackwell battled a 1 ½ hour rain delay, and held the American Association’s top offense scoreless over nine innings to guide the Sioux Falls Canaries (31-54) to a 6-0 win over the St. Paul Saints (64-21) in front of 7,752 fans at CHS Field on Saturday night.
Blackwell (3-9, 4.01 ERA) allowed three hits, but faced just 10 batters over his first three innings before the game was delayed due to heavy rain showers. The right-hander came back out for the 4th inning after play resumed and gave up a lead-off single to Ryan Lashley, but got back into the groove, retiring the next 14 batters.
Blackwell put together his best performance of the season, throwing 110 pitches, 71 for strikes. He racked up a season high 10 strikeouts in the win, and did not walk a batter for the first time in 17 starts this season.
The Canaries offense jumped on Saints starting pitcher Danny Gutierrez (0-1, 9.00 ERA) in the first two innings, taking an early 1-0 lead in the top of the 1st after Chris Grayson reached base on a lead-off single to center field, and later scored on a David Bergin RBI single to right.
The Birds’ struck again in the top of the 2nd, scoring three runs, all with two outs, in an eight at-bat inning. Cody Bishop reached base on a well-struck two out single down the third-base line. The speedy center-fielder stole second-base and later scored on a Brett Balkan RBI double. Grayson backed that up with an RBI double of his own to make it 3-0 before Jason Repko reached base on a throwing error, allowing Grayson to score the third run of the inning.
Grayson had a big night for the Birds, going 5-for-5 with a double a stolen base, two RBI’s, and three runs scored. The outfielder watched his batting average jump from .277 to .293 in the win. Bishop also had a multi-hit game, finishing the night 3-for-4 with a run scored.
The win snapped a season-long, seven-game losing streak, and gave the Canaries their 4th win (4-10) of the season against their north division rivals. The Birds’ will go for the series win on Sunday night, with new starting pitcher Ray Hanson (0-0, 0.00 ERA) taking the mound in the series finale.
The Canaries return home on Monday, August 24th to battle their division rivals, the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks. For the first time ever, the Sioux Falls Canaries will be hosting a Food Truck Day on Monday, August 24th from 11:30 AM- 7:00 PM. Local Food Truck vendors will have their delicious food items available for purchase outside the left-field wall in parking lot A. The Canaries are encouraging everyone in Sioux Falls to come out and sample the delicious food items, and cast their vote for the top truck in town!
Fans can catch all the action home and away on AM-1230, FM-98.1, Sioux Falls Sports Radio KWSN. Pre-game coverage will begin at 6:45 PM as the “Voice of the Canaries” JJ Hartigan will bring all the latest news related to Canaries baseball.