LINCOLN – The Lincoln Saltdogs collected 12 hits and starting pitcher Derek Gordon notched a quality start as the Saltdogs (43-23) dominated the St. Paul Saints (36-31) 13-2 on Monday night at Haymarket Park.
The victory was the twelfth straight win at home for the Saltdogs, tying the franchise record from May 27th through June 16th earlier this year. The Saltdogs have won four straight games and 17 of their last 19 contests. The win clinched a series victory for the ‘Dogs, their season-high sixth straight series win.
Cesar Valera started the offensive onslaught in the first inning. The All-Star tripled with two runners on base and scored as the relay throw was bobbled by the second baseman.
The Saltdogs added to their lead in the second inning. Lincoln tallied three runs on three hits to go ahead 6-0. Christian Ibarra knocked in two run with a double off the left-center field fence to power the scoring.
Lincoln chased Saints’ starter Benji Waite from the game in the third inning. Nathaniel Maggio singled and stole second base before Ibarra walked. Then, Waite fired a wild pitch to send Maggio in to score. Waite entered the game with a league-best 2.17 ERA but allowed six runs in just 2.2 innings.
St. Paul scored their only runs of the game in the fifth inning. Tim Colwell and scored on a Breland Almadova double. Nate Hanson singled and then Anthony Gallas flew out to Maggio, the first baseman. Almadova, who was on third base, noticed that Maggio wasn’t paying attention after the catch and tagged up to score the second run.
The Saltdogs put the game away with a four run bottom of the fifth inning. Valera drove in Matty Johnson with the help of some aggressive base running. Later, Tommy Mendonca smacked a three-run home run to right field to make it 11-2. It was Mendonca’s fourth of the season and his first after rejoining the team this month.
The Saltdogs scored two more runs in the game, one on an Ibarra base hit and another on a Brandon Jacobs home run. It was Jacobs’s tenth long ball of the season.
Gordon allowed two runs on four hits over six innings. He struck out seven while recording his second straight quality start. The Saltdogs have won each of his last seven starts.
Dimitri Kourtis earned a three-inning save by retiring all nine batters he faced to end the game.
Valera extended his on-base streak to 25 games and Curt Smith extended his streak to 21 games. Valera is 7-10 with four runs scored and five RBIs in the last two games.
The Saltdogs and Saints are scheduled to throw two former Major League pitchers for the series finale on Tuesday night. The Saltdogs will toss Shairon Martis while the Saints have tabbed Mark Hamburger.
Lincoln will try for the series sweep and their franchise record thirteenth straight win at home. First pitch is at 6:45 PM with coverage beginning at 6:15 PM on ESPN 1480 and saltdogs.com.
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