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Tuesday, July 17, 2012
ST. PAUL, Minn. – Much like the games of the four-game sweep in Fargo last weekend, the Grand Prairie AirHogs took an early lead on Tuesday, only to see a big inning in the middle frames wipe it out, as the St. Paul Saints scored six runs in the fifth inning to erase a 3-1 deficit and beat the AirHogs 9-3 at Midway Stadium, sending the AirHogs to their sixth consecutive loss.
It looked rosy early for Grand Prairie (37-20), as they scored twice in the first on five hits, but had Trent Lockwood thrown out at the plate on Greg Porter’s single to end the inning.
Meanwhile, Josh Strawn (6-2) retired the Saints (27-28) in order for the first three frames, getting seven groundouts, a strikeout and a flyout.
But a controversial call gave St. Paul a run in the fourth, when Chris McMurray’s throw to third hit a trapped Joe Spiers and then allowed him to scamper home and escape a rundown. The AirHogs pleaded for interference but after a conversation with all three umpires, it was ruled that Spiers was not out of the baseline.
Grand Prairie got the run back in the fifth on a two-out RBI single by Lockwood, but that was it for the AirHogs’ offense the rest of the night, and things fell apart in the bottom half of the frame.
The trouble started when Strawn threw away Tanner Townsend’s comebacker for a three-base error, before Jon Townsend doubled to make it 3-2. Benji Johnson then bunted back to Strawn, whose throw to third was high enough to allow Townsend to slide in safely. Spiers followed with an RBI single, and after Jose Hernandez singled to load the bases, Willie Cabrera knocked in a run with a slow grounder to third to give the Saints the lead.
The next two batters reached on fielder’s choice outs, but Strawn threw a wild pitch on 1-2 to Ronnie Bourquin to make it 5-3, before Bourquin hammered the next pitch over the rightfield wall to knock out Strawn and cap the inning.
The AirHogs had Saints starter Robert Coe (7-3) on the ropes early, but did not get a hit on him in the sixth and seventh after they fell behind, finally knocking him out with a pair of two-out singles in the eighth. But righy Chris Odegaard got Keanon Simon on a comebacker to end the inning before retiring the side in order in the ninth for his first save of the season.
Notes: Simon returned to the lineup after missing six games and singled and doubled in his first two at-bats before three outs to finish his night…The Airhogs out-hit the Saints 11-10 but left 10 on base compared to St. Paul’s four…The AirHogs have allowed eight three-plus-run innings during this losing streak and five five-spots or worse…AirHogs pitchers did not walk anyone in the game.
The 2011 American Association Champion Grand Prairie AirHogs conclude their three-game series with the St. Paul Saints on Wednesday, July 18, at 1:05 p.m. The next home game at QuikTrip Park is on Friday, June 20, at 7:05 against the Kansas City T-Bones, with Coors Light Jerseys off our Backs Night, where all fans will have a chance to win the AirHogs’ specialty jerseys right off their backs. All games are aired live and for free on Ustream by clicking on the link on the AirHogs’ home page or visiting http://www.ustream.tv/channel/airhogs-baseball with selected contests aired on Time Warner Cable’s Texas Channel. For information on tickets, promotions, advertising, and other opportunities with the AirHogs, check out the Web site at www.airhogsbaseball.com, or call the QuikTrip Park office at (972) 504-9383.