BUFFALO, NY (May 30, 2023) - All eyes were on Kenta Maeda at the beginning of the game for his first Major League rehab start. Those same eyes were fixated on Matt Wallner at the end of the game. Both were impressive as the St. Paul Saints beat up on
BUFFALO, NY *(May 30, 2023) - *All eyes were on Kenta Maeda at the beginning of the game for his first Major League rehab start. Those same eyes were fixated on Matt Wallner at the end of the game. Both were impressive as the St. Paul Saints beat up on the Buffalo Bisons 9-1 on Tuesday night at Sahlen Field. The win improves the Saints to 28-22 on the season.
The Saints grabbed the lead in the first when Andrew Stevenson reached on a fielding error by second baseman Daniel Schneider, stole second, and scored on a single up the middle by Jose Miranda to make it 1-0.
Maeda didn’t waste time showcasing his repertoire of pitches. He mixed in all five pitches in the first inning and struck out the side.
He was even more efficient in the second, getting two fly outs before a two-out walk. He ended his night by striking out Otto Lopez looking. Maeda went 2.0 hitless, shutout innings while walking one and striking out four. He threw 29 pitches, 16 for strikes. He tossed five of seven fastballs for strikes, topping out at 91.0 mph and averaging 89.9 mph. His highest usage pitch was the slider, throwing seven of 14 for strikes.
Caleb Thielbar also made his first Major League appearance, tossing the third inning. He gave up a leadoff line drive single off his shoe before retiring the next three hitters on a ground out, strikeout, and pop out. Thielbar went 1.0 scoreless inning allowing one hit while striking out one. He threw eight pitches, seven for strikes.
In the sixth, the Saints added another run. With one out Wallner doubled to right-center and he scored on a two-out single to left by Mark Contreras giving the Saints a 2-0 lead. Contreras went 3-5 with an RBI.
Brent Headrick, who came on after Thielbar, was magnificent. He retired 10 of the first 11 men he faced before giving up the only run of the game. The Bisons got on the board in the seventh with three consecutive singles by Wynton Bernard, Rob Brantley, and Otto Lopez, the latter knocking in a run cutting the Saints lead to 2-1. Headrick went 5.0 innings allowing one run on five hits while striking out seven.
The Saints tacked on two insurance runs in the eighth as Miranda started the inning by being hit by a pitch. Wallner knocked him home with a triple to right-center making it 3-1. With two outs, Hernán Pérez made it 4-1 with an RBI single down the first base line.
In the ninth the Saints put the game away with a five-run inning as the first three batters loaded the bases. Jair Camargo led off with a single, Andrew Bechtold and Andrew Stevenson walked. Miranda roped a two-run single into left-center putting the Saints up 6-1. Wallner then drilled a 421-foot homer to right-center, his fifth of the season, making it 9-1. Wallner finished a single shy of the cycle going 3-5 with four RBI and three runs scored.
The only downside on the night was Stevenson had his franchise record 16-game hitting streak come to an end going 0-4 with a walk, a stolen base, and two runs scored.
The same two teams meet in game two of the six-game series on Wednesday afternoon at 12:05 p.m. (CT) at Sahlen Field. The Saints send RHP Aaron Sanchez (2-4, 4.17) to the mound against Bisons RHO Bowden Francis (0-1, 2.45). The game can be heard on KFAN Plus, 96.7 FM.