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Bats squeak by Chiefs in series opener
Syracuse shut down late in 4-3 loss
05/28/2012 7:55 PM ET
Xavier Paul had three hits and drove in a run on Monday.
Xavier Paul had three hits and drove in a run on Monday. (Glenn Gaston)
The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, dropped their series opener to the Louisville Bats, 4-3, on Monday afternoon. All seven runs in the game were scored in the first three innings, with Louisville's bullpen tossing six scoreless frames to shut down the Chiefs' offense.

Syracuse (23-28) struck early, scoring two runs within the game's first three batters against Bats right-hander Wirfin Obispo. After Josh Johnson singled to begin the game, left fielder Jim Negrych laced a triple to right field, his first three-base hit of the season, to score Johnson. First baseman Mark Teahen followed with a groundout to first base, plating Negrych for a 2-0 lead.

But it didn't take long for Louisville (17-35) to retaliate against Chiefs right-hander Mitch Atkins. Kristopher Negron singled to lead off the game, and left fielder Felix Perez followed with a run-scoring double to center field. Perez was thrown out at third trying for a triple, negating the initial rally, but the Bats quickly put Atkins in trouble once more. Neftali Soto and Daniel Dorn each reached on hard-hit infield singles, and a Cody Puckett groundout advanced the runners to second and third. With two outs, third baseman Willie Harris doubled to right field, scoring both runners for a 3-2 Louisville advantage.

In the bottom of the second inning, Negron added to the lead with a solo home run to left field. The center fielder's fifth home run of the season doubled the lead to 4-2.

The Chiefs got a run back in the third inning thanks to the middle of their order. Teahen doubled with one out, and two batters later, Xavier Paul drove him in with a run-scoring single. The inning would be Obispo's last, after allowing five hits and three runs.

However, three Bats relievers would combine to shut the Chiefs out after the third inning. Scott Carroll tossed three innings to bridge the gap until the seventh inning. Nick Christiani then entered to record the next eight outs, but Carlos Rivero's two-out pinch-hit double in the ninth ended the right-hander's night. Jordan Smith then entered for the Bats and retired Johnson on a groundout, sealing the Louisville victory.

The Chiefs and Bats will resume their series Tuesday morning with an 11:05 start time. Syracuse left-hander Zach Duke and Louisville left-hander Jeff Francis are the scheduled starters.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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