It was Elvis night at Shaw Park on Saturday night and the Winnipeg Goldeyes checked into Heartbreak Hotel, losing a third straight baseball game.
The Goldeyes (48-37) were defeated 4-1 by the St. Paul Saints (44-40) before a crowd of 5,772. The two teams meet again Sunday at 1:30 p.m. in the final game of their three-game set. Starting pitchers are expected to be southpaw Todd Privett (5-5, 3.93) for the Goldeyes and righty Robert Coe (10-4, 3.07) for the Saints.
A losing streak is not helpful when the Goldeyes have just 15 games left. In fact, their playoff hopes are getting all shook up as Winnipeg’s lead over St. Paul for the lone wild-card playoff berth has shrunk to three games.
Winnipeg outfielder Mike Coles, who has won four independent baseball championships, said he’s been down this road before.
"The championship teams I’ve been on, we’ve hit this kind of streak towards the end of the season. It’s one of those things that one win, we’ll be okay," said Coles, who got one of Winnipeg’s five hits, was hit by a pitch to get aboard in the ninth, then scored Winnipeg’s only run. "As long as we don’t panic. This is why we have a lot of older guys: We know. St. Paul, they’re basically playing for their lives to try to get back in. If we get a win tomorrow, we start just where we were Friday."
The Goldeyes faced a stellar starter in Saints righty Kyle Ruwe (3-1), who got the win and has allowed only five hits in the last 52 batters he faced. Goldeyes starter Matt Rusch (8-3) took the loss.
The first batter of the game, Saints centre-fielder Jim Rapoport, hit a triple and was driven home by Adam Frost in the next at-bat. The Saints scored two runs in the second inning and got their fourth run in the third on an RBI single by left-fielder Jose Hernandez.
Goldeyes centre-fielder Chris Roberson did not play Saturday after suffering an injury to his eye in Friday’s 4-1 loss to St. Paul. He'll miss at least a week of action. During his fifth-inning at-bat on Friday, the ball bounced up off his bat, hitting him in the left eye. He was taken to hospital to be examined and got some stitches but was not kept overnight.