It was only fitting that the St Paul Saints, known for their out-of-the-box approach to entertainment between innings and fun at the old ballpark, would end their home part of the season with a laugh.
Thanks to a gift from the Iowa Cubs in the form of 13 walks, the Saints celebrated with an 11–1 victory, holding a bow in their first season as the home of the twins’ Triple-A team.
“It’s been fun for me, personally,” said Saints manager Toby Gardenhauer. “I have a group of family in the area. My wife (also from the Twin Cities) gave 22 tickets today; They all sit in a suite, which is great.
“In the past I didn’t really have a place where family and friends could come into play, unless someone came to town to visit. And growing up here, it’s been so special that I’ve been able to manage here. am.”
The Saints ended the season with a 37–28 record at home. They are 28-32 on the road. Their road record took a major hit in late August, when they lost all six games of the six-game series at Toledo and 10 of 12 on the Tour.
It was this yatra which also took the saints out of the dispute of the division.
“It’s great,” Gardenhauer said of the home record. “I try not to set any target number-wise. We just play. You never know what’s going to happen in Triple-A all season long, you lose players, you gain players. But it’s good to know that we were able to win many matches at home.”
The Saints improved their record to 4–1 in the final stretch, keeping them looking for a cash prize that goes to the Triple-A team that has the best record in a 10-game postseason tournament.
Earning that cash prize, which is thought to be $75,000, won’t be easy for the Saints, as they finish the season with five games at division leader Toledo.
On Sunday, the Saints took advantage of five walks and a wild pitch in the third innings to take a 3-0 lead. Jose Miranda hits the only hit in the innings, a two-run single to the center.
After walking two more, two more saints ran in the third. Catcher David Banuelos picked up a pair of RBIs twice off the right-field wall. The Saints added one run in the fourth, four in the seventh and another in the eighth.
Left-hander Andrew Albers allowed only one run in five innings to take the win and improved his record to 7-4. Albers, 35, has played at least five innings this season in 15 of his 17 appearances, including the last 15 in a row. He conceded three runs or less in nine of these starts.
“He’s a pro,” Gardenhauer said. “Today he is a good example of what he is capable of. He has been doing it for a while, and he is good at it.”