ST. PAUL, MN June 24, 2017
The St. Paul Saints were celebrating their 25th Anniversary on Saturday night at CHS Field in front of 9,110. They brought back some of the players from the first team in 1993. Not only did the 45-year-old Kevin Millar come back, but he took an at bat and it was one to remember. Millar’s two-run homer in the second proved to be the difference in an 8-6 victory over the Winnipeg Goldeyes. The win improved the Saints to 24-11 on the season, tied for the best record in the American Association and increased their lead to 6.0 games over the Goldeyes in the North Division.
The Saints trailed 3-0 going into the second inning after the Goldeyes scored three unearned runs in the first. That’s when the drama unfolded. Tony Thomas led off with a walk and up stepped Kevin Millar. Seven years after his last professional at bat in a Saints uniform Millar stepped to the plate. The first pitch to Millar was down and in for ball one. Goldeyes starter Zack Dodson then threw a fastball that Millar jumped on and drilled for a two-run homer to cut the deficit to 3-2. It was Millar’s sixth home run in a Saints uniform, hitting five in 1993. He played six games for the Saints in 2010 and hit .208 with no home runs and two RBI and thought he had played his last game. Following the home run Millar took a curtain call and the designated hitter on the night would end his evening 1-1 with a home run, two RBI and two runs scored.
The Saints still found themselves down by a run in the fifth when the Goldeyes got a home run of their own, a solo shot to left by Andrew Sohn, his fourth of the season, to make it 5-3.
The Saints, still flying high from the Millar home run, mounted the comeback in the bottom of the inning. With Millar in the broadcast booth he watched his team take the lead. With two outs Danny Oh singled to center. Tanner Vavra tied it with a home run off the railing in right-center, his first of the season and second of his career, to tie the game at four. A double by Nate Hanson and an RBI single from Brady Shoemaker gave the Saints a 5-4 lead.
They added to the lead in the sixth when Jon Kristoffersen doubled with one out. Oh walked and Vavra doubled them both home to give the Saints a 7-4 lead. Vavra finished the night 2-5 with a double, home run, career high four RBI and two runs scored. Hanson gave the Saints an 8-4 lead with an RBI single. Hanson finished the night 3-5 with two doubles, an RBI and a run scored.
The Goldeyes fought back tallying a run in the seventh when David Rohm singled with two outs and scored on a Josh Romanski double to make it 8-5.
In the eighth Mason Katz doubled and Wes Darvill singled him home to pull the Goldeyes within two. With two outs and the tying runs aboard the Saints went to their closer Seth Rosin. He struck out Rohm to end the inning.
In the ninth Rosin retired the first two hitters he faced and then walked Shawn Pleffner. That brought up David Bergin who entered play hitting .375 with four home runs against his former team. Rosin got Bergin to fly out to center to end the game. Rosin picked up his eighth save of the season in eight tries.
The same two teams meet in the finale of the four game series on Sunday evening at 5:05 p.m. at CHS Field. The Saints send RHP Ryan Zimmerman (3-1, 3.51) to the mound against Goldeyes RHP Mikey O’Brien (3-2, 4.43). It is a celebration of the X Games presented by Minnesota Soybean. The game can be seen on the Saints Cable Network, cable access channels in and around the Twin Cities, and heard on Club 1220 KLBB.