GARY | After concluding Friday's win over St. Paul at 12:10 Saturday morning, RailCats had an early call to the field Saturday afternoon.
The 'Cats were already stretching and hitting at 2 p.m. Normal batting practice for a 6 p.m. start is 3:30 p.m., and the RailCats were hitting a simulated game while Reid Fronk took at-bats.
Manager Greg Tagert said Friday that Fronk will take several swings in simulated games over the weekend in the hopes to activate him Monday or Tuesday. He said his activation will likely come at the expense of someone on the pitching staff. The RailCats don't have any space on the disabled list, with Ari Ronick out with a quad strain and Danny Pulfer out with a broken finger.
St. Paul Saints (37-34)
SS Adam Frost
3B Joey Becker
2B Brad Boyer
LF Willie Cabrera
DH Brandon Tripp
1B Ole Sheldon
CF Jose Hernandez
C Dwight Childs
RF Trevor Hairgrove
RHP Mark Hamburger (5-4, 3.76 ERA)
LF Adam Klein
RF Mike Massaro
DH Cristian Guerrero
C Ryan Babineau
1B Christian Vitters
3B Brian Kolb
CF Drew Martinez
SS Zac Mitchell
2B Nick Liles
RHP Stephen Hiscock (0-2, 4.10 ERA)
Before his pregame gaggle with the media, manager Greg Tagert was taking a scouting report on Hamburger, who hasn't played against the 'Cats this season. Hamburger had a five-game career in the Majors with the Texas Rangers in 2011.
The call was from Fargo-Moorhead, the first-place team in the American Association's North Division to the Saints' second-place.
"The RedHawks have the most to gain," Tagert said with a grin.
Adam Frost opens with a single up the middle. Joey Becker hits a single into shallow center field. Brad Boyer flies out to left, shallow enough to keep Frost on second. Willie Cabrera flies out to right field, Mike Massaro makes the quick throw to short to hold Frost again. Brandon Tripp flies out to center, the Saints leave both no-out hits on base. Mid 1st inning: Saints 0, RailCats 0
Adam Klein walks on five pitches. Mike Massaro singles. Cristian Guerrero hits fly ball to right, Klein takes third. Ryan Babineau pops out to second base. Christian Vitters strikes out swinging, the 'Cats followed the Saints' lead with first two on, next three out. End 1st inning: RailCats 0, Saints 0
Ole Sheldon lollygags to first base, or he'd have beat out the throw from short by Zac Mitchell. Instead, one out. Jose Hernandez strikes out swinging. Dwight Childs grounds out to second. Mid 2nd inning: RailCats 0, Saints 0
Brian Kolb singles into shallow right. Drew Martinez singles, then takes second as right field throws to third to try to catch Kolb. Zac Mitchell flies out to center, too shallow to move Kolb from third. Nick Liles hits an infield single, then Kolb scores on a throwing error from third. Adam Klein grounds into a double play. End 2nd inning: RailCats 1, Saints 0
Trevor Hairgrove grounds out to first. Adam Frost grounds to third, where Brian Kolb makes a quick stab and throws to first. Joey Becker grounds out to short. Mid 3rd inning: RailCats 1, Saints 0
Mike Massaro grounds out to second. Cristian Guerrero grounds out to short. Two-out Ryan Babineau single is their fifth of the game. The RailCats are owning Mark "Not the Mayor of the Mound" Hamburger. Christian Vitters flies out to right. End 3rd inning: RailCats 1, Saints 0
Brad Boyer flies out to the right-field warning track, Mike Massaro makes the catch look easy. Willie Cabrera flies out to center. Brandon Tripp strikes out swinging and Ryan Babineau makes the throw to first to make the out official. Mid 4th inning: RailCats 1, Saints 0
Brian Kolb strikes out swinging. Drew Martinez pops out to short. Zac Mitchell strikes out swinging -- after fouling off his share of baseballs. End 4th inning: RailCats 1, Saints 0
Ole Sheldon flies out to right. The RailCats have retired 13 straight, it's broken up by a single by Jones Hernandez. Dwight Childs flies out to right. Hernandez steals second; RailCats fans beg to differ. Trevor Hairgrove is walked. Adam Frost grounds to short where Hairgrove is taken out at second. Mid 5th inning: RailCats 1, Saints 0
Nick Liles grounds out to third. Adam Klein singles to extend his streak of games in which he has reached base to 28. Mike Massaro hits down the first-base line. The first baseman bobbles the ball, erasing the double play option. Cristian Guerrero grounds out to short. End 5th inning: RailCats 1, Saints 0
Brian Kolb almost makes a line-drive grab on the jump and instead he bats down the ball hit by Joey Becker, picks it up and makes the out at first. Brad Boyer singles up the middle, the ball going under the glove of two defenders (Stephen Hiscock and Zac Mitchell). Willie Cabrera grounds to third, Boyer is out at second, Cabrera is safe at first on the fielder's choice. Brandon Tripp tries a bunt, it doesn't work. Mid 6th inning: RailCats 1, Saints 0
Ryan Babineau singles into left field. Christian Vitters double puts runners in scoring position. A Brian Kolb single over the head of the short stop scores Babineau and Vitters. Drew Martinez bunts out to third, Kolb is on second. Zac Mitchell walks. Nick Liles grounds into a double play. End 6th inning: RailCats 3, Saints 0
Ole Sheldon hits the first pitch he sees over the left-field wall. Jose Hernandez is walked. That looks to be it for Stephen Hiscock with a meeting on the mound from Greg Tagert. Kyle Lindquist will relieve. Dwight Childs grounds to the mound, Hernandez is out at second, Childs is safe at first. Trevor Hairgrove grounds out to short, Childs is out at second, Hairgrove is safe at first. Adam Frost doubles into right-center to score Hairgrove. Joey Becker strikes out swinging. Mid 7th inning: RailCats 3, Saints 2
Adam Klein singles for his second hit of the day. Mike Massaro also singles into left. That's two lefties with two left-field hits. That'll bring a meeting on the mound; "Mayor Mc" Hamburger stays. Cristian Guerrero grounds into a double play, Klein is on third. Ryan Babineau strikes out swinging. End 7th inning: RailCats 3, Saints 2
Ian Durham is the RailCats new pitcher. On the first pitch from Durham, Brad Boyer grounds out to second. Willie Cabrera grounds out to third. Brandon Tripp flies out to center. Mid 8th inning: RailCats 3, Saints 2
John Plefka relieves Mark "Cheese" Hamburger. Christian Vitters strikes out on three pitches. Brian Kolb grounds out to third. Drew Martinez flies out to left. End 8th inning: RailCats 3, Saints 2
Marco Gonzalez will close the game. Ole Sheldon strikes out looking. Jose Hernandez pops out foul to third base (Kolb and Babineau both ran for it, Kolb shooed off the catcher). Dwight Childs strikes out swinging. Mid 9th inning: RailCats 3, Saints 2
AFTER THE GAME
Greg Tagert: "(Hamburger's) good. I thought we did a nice job. We left some scoring opportunities out there, but that's one of those things that the manager is frustrated, but the other guy is trying to stop you from doing. He's tough enough in those situations. He's one of the better right-handers in the league and obviously has the background to go with it. I thought our guys did a nice job from the beginning putting together those scoring opportunities. There was none bigger than Brian Kolb's at bat; a lot of times he just misses on the corner, foul by just a fingernail, and he still has to foul off a few more pitches, but his big two-run single was huge.
"Not to forget about Stephen's performance. He was sailing along and fine and sometimes that inning that we scored the two runs can have an adverse effect. He settled in and it crossed our mind and he seemed so good and fresh, I might be kicking myself a little on that one. Kyle came in and at least limited the damage, got the big out with that tying run in scoring position, that's what we hope to do every night.
"We got those first two guys on, we talk all the time about the first inning, and what a difference that makes, obviously the great thing about baseball how critical that can be to the outcome of the game, and he gets the first two guys on, then the three fly-ball outs, and he settles in after that. The next couple days will tell us (if he's ready to return to the four-man rotation), how he feels, how he responds."
Stephen Hiscock: "I feel good, I got ambushed in the seventh, but I feel good. It feels good to get a series win.
"It's nice to get a W, especially a team like that where my last start just came at their place. It's kinda the same situation, I just got a little out of character there, but it's an awareness game, and that's what was nice about tonight, I took that same game and kept the game plan.
"The way I approach it is you have to stay within your game. Some guys might be fast-ball hitters and if you're a fast-ball pitcher, you have to be a little more quality. It's a double-edged sword, too, because I've faced them a lot now. You see a couple holes here and there, whatever. It's going to be a nice little stretch for us, St. Paul's a good-swinging team and essentially that's where we want to be at the end of the year is taking teams that can swing the bat. That's a nice little thing for us."