The Winnipeg Goldeyes now share first place in the American Association's North Division after having had sole possession for 52 straight days.
Saturday at Shaw Park the Goldeyes lost 4-3 to the St. Paul Saints, who got the winning run on left-fielder Willie Cabrera's eighth-inning homer, his second solo shot of the night. The streaking Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks have now pulled even with Winnipeg.
Winnipeg (32-21) and St. Paul (24-28) will meet again today at 1:30 p.m. in the final game of their four-game set. Today's meeting will conclude a 12-game home stand in which the Goldeyes are 6-5. Winnipeg's Chris Salamida (2-2, 3.99) and St. Paul's Anthony Claggett (2-2, 8.20) are expected to be the starters.
The Goldeyes, whose six-game winning streak came to an end, had at least a one-game lead in the division for the past nine days but were unable to pull away from the RedHawks, who have won 11 straight.
"We were fortunate to reel off that many in a row and we had a chance to win today, we just didn't do enough to help ourselves," said Goldeyes manager Rick Forney. "We had one little mistake on defence and that cost us a run and just didn't hit enough. We had opportunities to drive some runs in, especially early and in the middle of the game. We just didn't do the job."
The Goldeyes had three runs on six hits.
Meanwhile Fargo, which beat Winnipeg in four straight games to start this homestand, is playing its best baseball of the season.
"You look at Fargo's team right now, they're on a tear. They're beating everybody's pants off. I think they've won 22 or 23 out of their last 26 or 27 and are scoring a lot of runs," Forney said. "That's how you have to do it. You have to score runs and you have to be consistent doing it."
Winnipeg was led by centre-fielder Chris Roberson, who hit his team-leading ninth homer and recorded his team-leading 42nd RBI. "This league now, every game counts right to the end," said Roberson who also had a stolen base. "We just have to keep grinding everything out. We need to keep coming up with the big ones, that's how we'll score, and keep jumping on (pitchers) like we're supposed to."
Cabrera opened the scoring in the first inning with a dinger off Winnipeg starter Ace Walker. The Goldeyes replied in the bottom half with Roberson's homer to right.
Winnipeg scored two runs in the third inning to take a 3-1 lead, when Price Kendall scored on a bases-loaded walk and a sacrifice fly by Luis Alen scored Roberson.
In the fifth, an error by Jose Duran resulted in a pair of unearned runs for St. Paul. An RBI-single by catcher Alex Garabedian and a sacrifice fly by centre-fielder Jose Hernandez tied the score at 3-3. Cabrera hit his game-winning homer off reliever Kaohi Downing, who took the loss.
Walker again put in a solid performance, going seven innings and allowing three runs on five hits while striking out five.
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