DES MOINES, Iowa — A bit of procrastination paid off big for the St. Paul Saints on Thursday afternoon.
Tied 4-4 through nine innings against the Iowa Cubs, the Saints struck for eight runs in the top of the 10th to pull off a 12-5 victory in front of a crowd of 5,163 at Principal Park.
The Saints exploded for their highest-scoring inning of the season in the 10th, and they scored their runs in a variety of ways — an Alex Kirilloff RBI double, Tim Beckham’s bloop single to left field, a bases-loaded walk to Michael Helman, a throwing error that scored Elliot Soto.
Then Roy Morales finished the inning with a bang, drilling a grand slam over the center-field wall, his first home run of the season and the first grand slam of his career. It was his ninth home run in 411 career games. Morales scored the first and last runs of the inning for the Saints.
St. Paul (22-28) scored two runs in the second inning, then two more in the ninth. Problem was, Iowa (24-26) answered with two runs of its own in both innings.
Beckham, Morales and Jake Cave all finished with two hits apiece for the Saints.
Starting pitcher Mario Sanchez came through on the mound, pitching a career-high 7 2/3 innings. He threw 103 pitches, just the second player in Saints franchise history to top the 100-pitch count, against 27 batters. He allowed five hits and two runs but left the game with a no-decision.
Reliever Austin Schulter, the Saints’ third and final pitcher, got the win, allowing one hit and one run over 1 2/3 innings.