Vazquez Stifles Saints Bats in Win
By JJ Hartigan (May 24, 2014)
ST. PAUL, MN-- After giving up six runs and suffering his first lost of the season last week against Sioux City, Kyle Vazquez knew he had plenty to prove on Saturday night.
Vazquez returned to the mound and stifled Saints batters over six shutout innings to outduel Jeff Shields and lead the Canaries to a 4-1 win at Midway Stadium.
The right-hander retired the first seven batters of the game before giving up a one-out double to Devin Thaut in the third. He would give up just two more hits over his final three innings, walking one and striking out two. Vazquez made quick work of the Saints, leaving the game after throwing just 70 pitches, 43 for strikes.
With the Birds' leading 2-1 with two-outs in the eighth inning, St. Paul brought in relief pitcher Ryan Bollinger to face Stephen Branca. The Canaries shortstop crushed a 1-1 fastball deep into the right-centerfield gap, plating home Brandon Jones and Chase Burch to give Sioux Falls a 4-1 lead.
Canaries designated hitter, Chris Duffy led the offensive attack going 3-for-3 at the plate with a double, an RBI, and a run scored. Duffy has been the hottest hitter in the Sioux Falls lineup over the last four games, raising his batting average 206 points, from .154 on May 19th, to .360 on Saturday night. He has also been a patient batter at the plate, reaching base in his last seven plate appearances while mixing in three walks over the last two games.
The Sioux Falls bullpen once again proved tough, with Wickswat, Clark, and DeRatt striking out a combined seven batters over the final three innings in relief.
The only blip on the radar came in the seventh inning with reliever Matt Wickswat giving up a one-out solo homerun to Henry Wrigley, who provided the only run of the night for St. Paul. Kirk Clark walked a batter and gave up a base-hit in the eighth, but struck out three before closer Allen DeRatt shut the door in the ninth with three straight strikeouts, earning his fourth save of the season.
Joe Bircher (0-0, 4.26 ERA) will take the mound in the final game of the series for Sioux Falls on Sunday against St. Paul pitcher Anthony Claggett (2-0, 1.32 ERA).
After completing the four game series in St. Paul, the Canaries will head to Fargo for three games and then return to the Birdcage Thursday May 29th at 7:05 PM to take on the Kansas City T-Bones for Tattoo night and Thirsty Thursday. 12 oz. beers will be just $1 until first pitch, and $2.50 after. Tickets can be purchased at the Sioux Falls Stadium box office, by calling 605-336-6060 or by visiting Ticketmaster.