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Saints club three home runs, beat Columbus in season opener

Alex Isola hit a three-run homer on the first Class AAA pitch he saw, Yoyner Fajardo also hit a three-run blast and David Festa pitched three shutout innings in his AAA debut as the St. Paul Saints won their snow-delayed season opener Saturday, beating Columbus 8-1 before an announced 4,052 at CHS Field.

The Saints moved the opener from Friday to Saturday because of snow on the field, then pushed the start time back three hours to 5:07 p.m. to give the grounds crew additional time to prepare. The team was not bothered, with the batters hitting three home runs — Jose Miranda hit a solo shot in the seventh inning after earlier hitting a double — and the pitchers combining to strike out 13 Clippers.

Isola hit a three-run shot over the left-field fence with two out in the second inning after Yunior Severino and Anthony Prato walked. Fajardo, the No. 9 hitter, made it 6-0 with his own three-run homer in the fourth inning.

Festa, the Twins' top pitching prospect, pitched out of trouble in the first inning after giving up a leadoff single and two walks. He struck out four in his outing, giving up no other hits and only one walk. Randy Dobnak followed by retiring the first 10 batters he faced and struck out six in four innings. Jordan Balazovic pitched a perfect eighth with two strikeouts, and Scott Blewett pitched a 1-2-3 ninth.