St. Paul, Minn. – One night after striking out 14 times, Chicago hitters tallied 13 punch-outs in a 5-3 Dogs loss to the St. Paul Saints in the series finale Wednesday from CHS Field.
With a roster plagued by injuries just five games into their inaugural season, Dogs manager, Butch Hobson chose to forfeit his designated hitter and bat his starting pitcher Josh Goossen-Brown. While the move ultimately had little consequence on the game, it underscored the tough time the Dogs have had scoring runs through the franchise’s first ever road trip.
Those struggles continued Wednesday with the Dogs collecting just six hits and striking out 13 times.
Three of those six hits came from Chicago right fielder, Joe Benson. Benson went 3-4 with two doubles and a two-run home run, his second of the year. The first of Benson’s two doubles came with two outs in the top of the first inning, but the Dogs were unable to push Benson home. The Dogs remained scoreless through the fourth inning, in which they squandered another two-out opportunity, thanks to a Kyle Gaedele strikeout with the bases loaded to end the inning.
Chicago was at last able to break through on Benson’s run-scoring double in the fifth inning. The hit tied the game at one run apiece, but St. Paul immediately answered with a two spot in the bottom of the inning, fueled by a Justin O’Conner two-run home run.
With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, and the Saints leading 3-1, Goossen-Brown induced what appeared to be an inning-ending ground ball off the bat of St. Paul shortstop Noah Perio Jr. However, the ball trickled under the glove of Chicago third baseman Matt Dean, prolonging the inning. Saints third baseman Dante Bichette Jr. delivered the backbreaker to the Dogs in the very next plate appearance, lacing a two-run single into right field.
The Saints bullpen worked two and one-third perfect innings in relief of St. Paul starter Jake Esch, to preserve the win for the right-hander. Mike Devine earned the save for the Saints, his first of the year.
With the loss the Dogs move to 1-5 to start the 2018 season, while the Saints move to 5-1 with the win.
Chicago is off Thursday before opening their brand new ballpark, Impact Field, Friday against the Kansas City T-Bones.