St. Paul Saints fall behind by six, lose 7-6 to Columbus Clippers

The St. Paul Saints’ comeback from a six-run deficit stalled with the potential tying and go-ahead runs on base in a 7-6 loss to the Clippers on Wednesday night in Columbus, Ohio.

The Saints trailed 7-1 after four innings but nearly came all the way back. In the ninth, a single by Willians Astudillo and a double by Brent Rooker — his third of the game — put runners on second and third with no outs.

Clippers reliever DJ Johnson escaped the jam, however. With the infield in, he got JT Riddle to hit a slow grounder to second baseman Owen Miller, who held the runners and threw out Riddle. Johnson struck out Damek Tomscha and then retired Mark Contreras on a slow tapper back to the mound.

Saints relief pitchers factored big in the comeback. Starting pitcher Rob Whalen allowed seven runs in 2 2/3 innings, but Juan Minaya, Andrew Vasquez and Yennier Cano allowed just three hits while striking out 10 in shutting out the Clippers over the final 5 1/3 innings. Saints relievers have not allowed a run in their past 12 innings.

Rooker finished 3 for 4 with an RBI. Astudillo and Tomas Telis each went 2 for 5 for the Saints.

Andres Gimenez was 3 for 4 with a double and two RBIs, and Trenton Brooks was 2 for 4 with two runs for the Clippers.

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