Kansas City, Kan. – The Kansas City T-Bones defeated the St. Paul Saints 5-3 on Saturday night to win the American Association baseball championship.
The Saints lost the best-of-five series three games to one. Their only victory was a 6-0 shutout in Game 2 at CHS Field on Wednesday night.
Since winning the Northern League title in 2004, the Saints have lost in the American Association finals four times, also falling short in 2006, 2007 and 2011.
Kansas City won its first championship since 2008 when it was part of the Northern League.
Alay Lago, who hit just two home runs in the regular season, met Saints reliever Mike Devine with a one-out, two-run blast in the sixth inning to give Kansas City a 4-3 lead. Former Saint Noah Perio Jr. added an insurance run with an RBI double in the seventh.
After the T-Bones took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning without the aid of a hit, the Saints came back with three runs in the fifth inning on an RBI double by Joey Wong and RBI singles by Kyle Barrett and Brady Shoemaker. But those were all the runs they scored.
Three Kansas City relievers pitched 4 ⅔ shutout innings after taking over for starter Jared Mortensen in the fifth.
Saints ace Chris Nunn, throwing on three days’ rest, lasted 5 ⅓ innings in Game 4.
The Saints put together back-to-back singles with two outs in the eighth, but Dante Bichette Jr. flied out to left field against Kansas City closer Cody Winiarski to end the inning.
The Saints went out 1-2-3 in the ninth.
St. Paul went 59-41 in the regular season and defeated the Gary SouthShore RailCats in four games in the first round of the playoffs.