What was already a record-setting day at U. S. Steel Yard culminated with a raucous celebration on the field following another walk-off win in the ninth. The RailCats swept the St. Paul Saints in an 8-7 win on Cristian Guerrero’s two-run single after trailing by a run entering the inning. Gary (20-15) have won four in a row for the first time this season.
Saints closer Matt Meyer had an eerily familiar ninth inning. On Friday night, he got the first two outs before losing his control and blowing a three-run lead in the RailCats extra-inning win. With a 7-6 lead on Sunday, he again retired the first two hitters and had the RailCats down to their final strike on two straight batters. However, history and drama unfolded as the RailCats rallied.
With two out in the ninth, Adam Klein drew his third walk of the game and in the process set the record for most career walks in franchise history with 235, passing Eric McNamee for first all-time. Mike Massaro followed with another record-setting at-bat, lining a single to left to become the all-time leader in hits as a RailCat with 549, pushing him past Jay Pecci and into first in team history. Meyer then threw a wild pitch behind Guerrero to put the runners on second and third. With no records left to set on the day, Guerrero then hit a grounder through the middle of the infield to score Klein and Massaro and set off a celebration.
Massaro set another record in the first inning as he became the all-time leader in runs scored with 295, passing Pecci in that category as well.
St. Paul scored the game’s first run against starter Ari Ronick in the top of the first. Brandon Tripp drove in his fourth run of the series with a base hit to right to score Joey Becker and take a 1-0 lead.
The RailCats wasted no time getting back into the game in the bottom of the first. Klein walked to start the inning and moved to third on Massaro’s double into left-center. Guerrero followed with a base hit through the left side to tie the game. Ryan Babineau grounded into a double play on the next pitch scoring Massaro to give the RailCats a 2-1 lead.
Danny Pulfer kept the first inning alive with a base hit and moved to second on a wild pitch. Brian Kolb then dropped a base hit into right field to score Pulfer and give the RailCats a 3-1 lead after one inning.
In the bottom of the second, Guerrero knocked in Chase Tucker with a double to center field to give the RailCats a 4-1 lead.
The Saints found some two-out magic in the third. Brad Boyer smacked a double into the alley in left-center and Willie Cabrera followed him with a long two-run home run to left. Ari Ronick allowed back-to-back singles after the home run but escaped further damage in the inning.
Brandon Tripp continued his hot hitting in the series with a solo home run to left in the top of the fifth to make it 6-4. Tripp went 9-for-14 with two homers and four RBI in the series.
In the top of the seventh inning, the Saints had a terrific opportunity to take the lead. Against reliever Boomer Potts, the Saints loaded the bases on two singles and a walk. Dwight Childs, batting with the bases loaded, grounded out to first scoring Willie Cabrera. The RailCats then elected to intentionally walk Dan Kaczrowski to load the bases for a second time in the inning. Marco Gonzalez relieved Potts and got Donald Blunt to pop out to shallow center field and hold the lead 6-5.
St. Paul grabbed the lead with a two-out rally in the eighth. Brad Boyer singled and Cabrera followed with a double, his third hit of the day, to put runners on second and third. The RailCats elected to intentionally walk a batter for the second consecutive inning, this time Tripp, to load the bases. Jose Hernandez lined Marco Gonzalez’s first pitch through the middle for a two-run single to give the Saints a 7-6 lead.
Zavada (4-1) pitched a scoreless ninth inning, for his 10th consecutive scoreless inning.
Notes: The RailCats enjoyed their third ninth-inning comeback win in the last seven games. It was their fourth walk-off win of the year and the first walk-off hit for Guerrero as a RailCat since July 11, 2011 against Sioux City. The RailCats had their first four-game sweep since June 30, 2011 in Lincoln.
The RailCats continue their 11-game homestand with a four-game series against the Kansas City T-Bones beginning on Monday night. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.railcatsbaseball.com.