Kevin Merrell, playing his first game for the Saints, hit a three-run home run to spark the St. Paul Saints to a 9-2 victory over the Iowa Cubs on Saturday at CHS Field.

Merrell, who was promoted from Class AA Wichita, broke a 1-1 tie with his blast in the sixth inning. The Saints broke the game open with four runs in the eighth inning.

Derek Fisher hit a solo home run and drove in two runs and Jose Godoy had two RBI for the Saints.

Saints starter Jordan Balazovic, making his first appearance at Class AAA, threw 3 2/3 shutout innings. He struck out four. Reliever Mario Sanchez pitched 3 1/3 innings to earn the victory.

Wladimir Pinto pitched two perfect innings — striking out five — to earn the save. He hasn't allowed a run in seven appearances (10 1/3 innings) this season.

Andrelton Simmons, who spent last season with the Twins, went 1-for-3 for the Cubs in the first game of a rehab assignment.