THE Winnipeg Goldeyes rode some early offence and some shut-down pitching from the bullpen to a 4-2 win over the St. Paul Saints Wednesday, extending their North Division lead over St. Paul to five games.
The Fish opened the scoring in the first inning after Brock Bond took a free trip to first base on a walk. Then, after two wild pitches from the Saints starter, Bond found himself on third. A soft grounder from Jake Blackwood brought Bond in for the score and the early lead. The hot-hitting Blackwood was 1-for-4 with two RBI.
In the second, Reggie Abercrombie launched a solo home run to put the Fish up 2-0. The Fish added another one in the third frame: After a single from Bond advanced Ryan Pineda to third base, Blackwood picked up his second RBI of the game on a fielder's choice play that took out Bond at second.
But the Saints closed the distance in the fourth. With two out, Fish starter Matthew Jackson gave up a walk and a single to the Saints' Keith Brachold and Henry Wrigley, to put runners on first and third.
Then Angelo Songco hit a ball to shallow left field, nearly caught by a diving Donnie Webb. The ball rolled far enough behind the Fish outfielder to allow all runners to score and make it a 3-2 ball game after four innings.
Another two-out walk in the seventh signalled the end of Jackson's night as Gabe Aguilar came in to close out the inning. An early wild pitch from Aguilar advanced the runner to second, but a fastball a few pitches later got him out of the inning.
In the eighth, the Fish added one when Casey Haerther grounded out to score Bond from third base.
The bullpen did the rest.
ON THE MOUND
Jackson was solid against a quality Saints squad, giving up five hits for two earned runs through 62/3 innings of work.
The win moves Jackson's record to 9-6 on the season. Brendan Lafferty was in complete control in the top of the ninth, an easy one-two-three inning for his fourth save of the season.
The Fish will try to sweep the Saints in the third and final game of the series today at 7 p.m.