St. Paul, Minn. – Treysen Vavra hit his 15th home run of the season and drove in three runs to lead Chicago to a 6-3 victory over the St. Paul Saints Thursday night at CHS Field.
Vavra’s home run was one of just five Chicago hits in the game, but the Dogs used seven walks, and two costly St. Paul errors to even the three-game series between the two teams at one win apiece.
Dogs starter Wes Torrez was dominant in his third, and likely final, start of 2018. Torrez tossed six shutout innings, allowing only two hits and two walks, and striking out eight batters. The right-hander earned the win, his first of 2018.
Saints starter Ryan Zimmerman also pitched well, but costly errors in the top of the first inning and the top of the fifth inning allowed the Dogs to score two unearned runs against the St. Paul right-hander.
Zimmerman ultimately pitched five innings, allowing two runs on two hits and three walks, while punching out seven in a losing effort.
Up 2-0 after five innings, the Dogs bats went to work against St. Paul reliever Andrew Thome in the top of the sixth inning. After consecutive two-out walks from Dalton Blaser and Joe Benson, Stephen Perez ripped a double down the right field line to score both runners. The hit gave Perez his 35th and 36th runs driven in of the summer in just his 44th start in a Chicago uniform.
After Vavra’s home run pushed the Chicago lead to 6-0, the Saints scored three times against Dogs reliever Chad Girodo in the bottom of the seventh inning to cut the deficit in half.
Kaohi Downing was called upon to record the final out of the frame, and in doing so, stranded two Saints baserunners. Downing then worked a perfect eighth inning, while Taylor Grover worked a scoreless ninth frame for his 12th save of the year.
Downing and Grover have now combined to work 27 and two-thirds consecutive innings without allowing an earned run.
Chicago and St. Paul will play the rubber match of a three-game series Friday at CHS Field. Josh Goossen-Brown will make the start for the Dogs, while Eddie Medina gets the nod for the Saints.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. The game will be broadcast at www.thechicagodogs.com/broadcasts/ with the Crowne Plaza Pregame Show beginning at 6:45 p.m.