The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, split a doubleheader with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs on Thursday. Syracuse hung on in Game 1 for a 3-2 decision and fell 5-2 in the nightcap. The Chiefs are now 4-4 in doubleheader games this season and have split two of their four twin bills.
In the first game, starter J.D. Martin picked up his second win of the season with five and two-thirds strong innings. Martin allowed just seven hits and two runs, with Brandon Moss' two-run home run in the sixth inning providing Lehigh Valley's entire offense.
That blast would be too late for the IronPigs (54-38), as Syracuse had already plated its three runs to that point. The Chiefs (39-51) struck early with a second-inning RBI double from Jeff Frazier. Michael Aubrey blasted home a run in the fourth inning with his team-high eleventh home run, and Jesus Valdez added a much-needed insurance run by singling in Seth Bynum in the sixth.
The IronPigs were held off the scoreboard until Moss' home run in the sixth. At that point, reliever Josh Wilkie came on to slam the door shut, striking out three batters in a row and retiring the final four of the game in order to give Syracuse the victory.
Game Two was a different story, with the IronPigs matching some early Chiefs offense. Valdez launched a 3-2 fastball deep over the left field wall in the second inning off starter Scott Mathieson to give Syracuse the lead, but it wouldn't last long.
Lehigh Valley strung together five hits and three runs in the bottom of the second against Chiefs starter Ryan Tatusko. Erik Kratz, Tagg Bozied, and Cody Overbeck singled to lead off the inning, with Overbeck's hit scoring a run. Brian Bocock then reached on an infield single to Tatusko, who threw wide of first on the play. The error allowed Bozied to score and put runners on the corners for Mathieson. The IronPig starting pitcher then drove in a run with a groundout to second base, putting Lehigh Valley ahead 3-2.
The IronPigs added two more runs in the fourth with a Rich Thompson RBI triple and Josh Barfield RBI single. Those runs were more than Lehigh Valley's bullpen would need, as the Chiefs were shut out in the final four innings.
The Chiefs and IronPigs finish their three-game series in Lehigh Valley tomorrow at 7:05. Righthanders Craig Stammen and Nate Bump will toss for Syracuse and Lehigh Valley, respectively.