SIOUX FALLS – The St. Paul Saints' first victory of 2020 was a far cry from their last one of 2019.
Matt Solter pitched 5⅔ strong innings and the Saints scored in seven of nine innings in a 14-3 victory over the host Sioux Falls Canaries in the teams' second game of the season on Saturday night.
The last time the Saints won a game, it came to clinch the 2019 American Association championship, leading to a giant celebration on the mound. On Saturday, there wasn't even a team handshake line, as one isn't allowed because of social distancing rules.
The Saints — who lost Friday's opener 9-4 in the first game played by a Minnesota professional sports team in nearly four months — jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second inning Saturday, getting a solo home run from John Silviano, an RBI single from Josh Allen and a two-run homer from Sebastian Zawada. Their next four runs were unearned, pushing their lead to 8-0 in the sixth inning.
Solter didn't give up a hit until the fourth inning and gave up one unearned run on three hits while striking out five. Chris Chinea added a three-run homer in the eighth inning and finished 3-for-5 with four RBI and three runs scored.
The teams' three-game series ends Sunday, but then they begin another series Tuesday with the Saints — playing their home games at Sioux Falls Stadium to start this season because of the coronavirus pandemic — as the home team.