After left-hander Garrett Olson held the Chiefs scoreless through three innings, Syracuse (10-15) jumped right on Olson in the fourth inning. Right fielder Brett Carroll slammed the first pitch of the frame over the right-center field wall for Carroll's first Syracuse home run. Carlos Maldonado would follow with a double and Carlos Rivero singled to put two runners aboard for the Chiefs. After Olson recorded two outs, Corey Brown lined an 0-2 pitch into center field for a two-run single, giving Syracuse a 3-0 lead.
Olson departed after five innings, but the Chiefs battered the Bisons bullpen. Right-hander Brad Holt entered in the sixth and did not record an out, with a Rivero double, Jarrett Hoffpauir RBI single and Duke walk knocking Holt out of the game. Mark Teahen's bases-loaded sacrifice fly later in the inning put Syracuse on top 5-0.
The Chiefs added two more runs in the eighth inning and one in the ninth. In the eighth, Jason Michaels drove a Josh Edgin pitch into right-center field for a two-run double, scoring Josh Johnson and Teahen. In the ninth, a bases-loaded wild pitch from Jeff Stevens scored Rivero for the game's final run.
Meanwhile, Duke was terrific all night in a seven-inning, three-hit performance. Buffalo (14-11) had multiple runners on base in just one inning, when Duke walked two hitters in the fourth. But the left-hander struck out the side in one of the few real threats he faced on the night. Duke struck out five batters in total while walking just three, and Austin Bibens-Dirkx tossed two scoreless innings to close out the game.
The Chiefs and Bisons will play game two of a four-game set on Wednesday night at 6:05. Syracuse right-hander Erik Arnesen is scheduled to duel against Buffalo right-hander Matt Harvey.