Kevin Millar returns to St. Paul with a bang, Saints win 8-6
Millar connects on his home run. (St. Paul Saints/Instagram)

ST. PAUL, Minn. – It was like something that you would find in a book. 45-year-old Kevin Millar returned to the Saints on Saturday night for one game, and he made the most of it. His lone at-bat came in the second inning, and after taking the first pitch for ball one, he took the second pitch over the left-field wall, his first at-bat in seven years.

"I have been in baseball for a long time and have never seen anything like that," Saints manager George Tsamis said about Millar's home run after the game. 

Millar, who played a few games for the Saints back in 2010 before retiring from baseball, was back for the night as part of the Saints honoring members of their original team from 1993, of which Millar was a member. The Saints were able to broker an agreement with their opponents, the Winnipeg Goldeyes, to allow Millar to play in the game. They put him in the seventh spot in the lineup and listed him as the designated hitter.

Winnipeg jumps out to an early lead

Despite the novelty of Millar’s home run, there was an entire baseball game played, and unlike the previous two nights, it was a close affair. The Goldeyes jumped on Saints pitcher Mark Hamburger early in the first inning, as they scored three runs, as David Rohm hit a one-out double. He ended up scoring when Reggie Abercrombie reached on an error by the right fielder. Due to that error, all three runs scored in the inning were unearned.

After Millar’s home run, both teams exchanged zeroes over the next few innings, until the fifth when Andrew Sohn hit a leadoff home run to left field to make it a 4-2 lead for the Goldeyes. The Saints came alive in the bottom of the inning, as it was their turn to put up three runs, including a controversial two-run home run from Tanner Vavra that saw Goldeyes manager Rick Forney ejected by first base umpire Ian Kelley for arguing.

The call ended up standing, as the Saints tied it in one swing. They took the lead later in the inning after Nate Hanson doubled to left field, and scored when Brady Shoemaker singled to left field to put them in the lead, their first of the night.

They added three more runs in the sixth inning thanks to two doubles and a single from Hanson. From there the teams exchanged runs, which led to the top of the eighth inning when Winnipeg got a one-out double from Mason Katz. He came around to score when Wes Darvill singled to center field that cut the Saints lead to 8-6. After a walk to Sohn, the Saints brought in closer Seth Rosin for a four-out save.

Rosin nails down the save

Rosin was able to escape the inning when he struck out Rohm, then in the ninth, he got the first two outs quickly, but ran into a minor hiccup when he walked Shawn Pleffner. The next batter was a former Saint, David Bergin, who flew out to center field for the final out of the game.

The two teams will finish the series on Sunday at 5:05 p.m. when the Saints send RHP Ryan Zimmerman (3-1, 3.51) to the mound. The Goldeyes will counter with RHP Mikey O’Brien (2-1, 4.85).

Quick Hits

- Ben Buerkle, who the Saints signed earlier this week as a true rookie, got his first significant playing time tonight, as he was placed in center field when Tsamis shuffled his fielders around after Tony Thomas was ejected. He also had multiple at-bats, as he was the one who replaced Millar.

Game Summary

Win – Mark Hamburger (6-1)

Loss – Zach Dodson (2-2)

Save – Seth Rosin (8)

Player of the game – Kevin Millar (1-1, 2-run home run)

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