Sioux City Explorers defeat St. Paul Saints 7-5, extend lead in Central Division
The Explorers threatened in the sixth inning. (Stevie Larson/VAVEL USA)

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Sioux City Explorers entered CHS Field on Monday night looking to extend their lead in the American Association Central Division, but it took a come from behind effort for them to defeat the St. Paul Saints, as the Saints led 5-2 after four innings.

Both pitchers cruise through the first inning, Explorers strike in the second

After both pitchers threw perfect first innings, the Explorers got the first hits of the game in the top of the second inning when John Nogowski led off with a single to center field. Tyler Ogle was the next batter and proceeded to hit a single to left field to put two runners on with nobody out for Levon Washington, who flew out to left field for the first out of the inning, but it did allow Nogowski to advance to third base.

While Brandon Alvarez was batting, pitcher Jason Creasy threw a wild pitch that allowed Nogowski to score, and advance Ogle to second base. Starting pitcher Jason Creasy would get the second out of the inning on the next pitch when Alvarez struck out swinging. He escaped the inning when Dylan Kelly struck out swinging for the third out.

Saints respond in the bottom of the inning

The Saints picked up three runs in the bottom of the inning when Anthony Gallas hit a one-out home run. After Tony Thomas walked, Tim Colwell doubled to right field to put to runners on for Maxx Garrett, who singled to right field to score Thomas. Colwell ended up scoring when Tanner Vavra grounded out to the first baseman for the second out of the inning. The inning came to an end when Danny Oh struck out swinging.

Sioux City scores the rest of the runs

From that point, the game was dominated by the Explorers, as they scored five runs in the rest of the game, including three in the top of the seventh thanks to a leadoff home run from Jayce Ray, a single from Nate Samson, and a RBI double from Ogle. They tacked on another run in the eighth to take a 7-5 lead into the ninth inning.

Saints go down quietly in the ninth

The Saints sent Nate Hanson to lead off, and he started positively, singling to the shortstop. The next batter was Brady Shoemaker, who hit a pop fly to the first baseman for the first out of the inning. Gallas was the next Saint to step into the batter's box, but he ended the game by grounding into a double play. It was just the ninth loss of the season for the Saints, but their fifth against teams from the Central Division.

News and Notes

- Yesterday, the Saints released catcher Tony Caldwell, and this evening, the Kansas City T-Bones announced that they signed Caldwell. This season with the Saints, Caldwell batted .194 with three home runs and 11 runs batted in.

- Game two of the series is scheduled for Tuesday night when the Saints will send RHP Mark Hamburger (3-1, 2.63) to the mound, while the Explorers will send RHP Kurt Heyer (1-1, 2.14) to the mound. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

Game Summary

Win - Todd Eaton (2-0)

Loss - Connor Little (0-1)

Save - PJ Francescon (6)

Player of the game - Jayce Ray (3-5, HR, 2 singles)

SCE - 010 101 310 7 17 1

STP - 030 200 000 5   9 0