Grayson Home Run Powers Birds To Win Over Saints

Posted: 6/9/2018

Grayson_home_run_high_five.jpgPhoto courtesy Ry Tupper Photography

The Sioux Falls Canaries and St. Paul Saints are headed for a Sunday rubber game.

Chris Grayson hit his fourth home run of the year and the Birds bullpen combined for four shutout innings to close the door in a 5-3 win on Saturday night at CHS Field.

The game began much like Friday's: a pitcher's duel. Starters Joe Bircher (Sioux Falls) and Eddie Medina (St. Paul) traded zeros for the first four innings of the game.

Bircher had a tougher road, working out of first-and-second jams in each of his first three innings of work. Medina allowed just one hit and two walks in his first four frames.

The Canaries' bats woke up in the top of the fifth when Mike Hart and Tyler Wolfe led off the inning with back-to-back singles.

That brought up Aaron Gretz, who laid down a bunt in front of Medina. Medina made a wild throw to first, allowing Hart to score on the error.

Grayson was the next batter, hammering a ball over the right-field wall. The homer made it 4-0 Birds after four-and-a-half innings.

St. Paul responded immediately when designated hitter Brady Shoemaker hit his own three-run homer off of Bircher in the bottom of the fifth. Shoemaker's second longball of the year brought his season RBI total to a team-leading 18.

The Birds added a key insurance run in the ninth inning on an infield hit from Jordan Smith. Chris Grayson hustled in to score from second on the play. It was Smith's first RBI as a Canary.

Birds closer James Jones made his return from the disabled list in the ninth. He allowed runners to reach the corners after a single and a Burt Reynolds throwing error, but struck out Richard Prigatano to end the game.

The rubber game of the series is set for Sunday at 5 p.m. Dylan Thompson is set to start for the Canaries; the Saints plan to send out righty Jake Esch. Birds fans can hear the game on Sioux Falls Sports Radio 98.1 FM and AM 1230 KWSN, or online at