LINCOLN – Mark Hamburger tossed a complete game and the St. Paul Saints (37-31) beat the Lincoln Saltdogs (43-24) 2-1 to snap the Saltdogs’ 12-game home winning streak.
Hamburger and Saltdogs starter Shairon Martis, both former Major Leaguers, were masterful in the series finale on Tuesday night. Hamburger notched his fifth complete game and allowed just one run on nine hits. Martis allowed a run on five hits over 5.1 innings in his first start of the season. He struck out six batters compared to two walks.
The Saltdogs threatened to score the first run of the game in the bottom of the fifth. Ivan Marin and Matty Johnson recorded back-to-back singles to put runners on the corners with one out. Cesar Valera, who had already reached base twice, was at the plate. Hamburger induced a ground ball to the shortstop that Jon Kristoffersen turned into a double play to retire the side.
St. Paul scored the first run in the next half inning. Kes Carter doubled and Mitch Delfino followed with a single to drive him in.
Fabio Martinez, J.R. Bunda and Cameron McVey combined to throw 2.2 scoreless innings of relief for the Saltdogs.
The Saints scored a critical insurance run in the top of the ninth inning. Closer Michael Wagner walked Tim Colwell to start the inning. After he was bunted to second base, Nate Hanson hit a ground ball to the left side. Marin tried to get the lead runner at third base but the tag was just late and all the runners were safe. Then, Anthony Gallas singled in Hanson to make it a 2-0 game.
The Saltdogs made it interesting in the bottom of the ninth. Randolph Oduber bombed a two-out home run to make it a one run game. But, Dashenko Ricardo lined out to right field in the next at bat to end the game.
The defeat marked the first time the Saltdogs had lost at Haymarket Park since July 1st. The 12-game home winning streak tied the franchise record that was set earlier this season. The Saltdogs clinched the series win on Monday, making it six straight series wins for Lincoln.
Cesar Valera was 2-3 with a double and extended his on-base streak to 26 games. He was 9-13 with four runs scored and five RBIs in the series. Curt Smith extended his on-base streak to 22 games with a walk in the eighth inning.
The Saltdogs have a day off before welcoming second place Kansas City to Haymarket Park for a four-game series. Thursday’s first pitch is at 6:45 PM with coverage beginning at 6:15 PM on ESPN 1480 and saltdogs.com.
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