The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, scored 11 runs for the second straight day with an 11-0 shutout of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs on Friday night. Starting pitcher Tanner Roark tossed six no-hit innings in his season debut, with a 13-hit attack providing more than enough offense. The win improved the Chiefs to 2-0 for the first time since 2010; they've now outscored the IronPigs 22-2 in the series' first two games.
Syracuse (2-0) scored a first-inning run without the benefit of a hit thanks to some sharp baserunning and some Lehigh Valley (0-2) defensive miscues. Center fielder Eury Perez reached first base to start the game on a fielding error by second baseman Cesar Hernandez before stealing second base on the next pitch. Jeff Kobernus - making his first professional start in left field - then sacrificed Perez over to third and reached first base himself on an error by starting pitcher Jonathan Pettibone. With Corey Brown at the plate, Kobernus then took off for second base, and catcher Tommy Joseph's throw sailed into center field. Perez crossed home for the game's first run.
In the second inning, the Chiefs' bats awakened for four runs. Shortstop Zach Walters began the frame with a soaring home run down the right field line - his second long ball in as many days. Four batters later, Perez laced a triple into the right-center field gap, scoring Jhonatan Solano and Will Rhymes for a 4-0 lead. Kobernus tacked on the inning's final tally with a sacrifice fly to plate Perez.
Syracuse added a third-inning run on a bizarre play involving a pair of IronPigs errors. After Mike Costanzo's single, Walters smashed a double off the wall in right-center field. Costanzo then headed for the plate when right fielder Jermaine Mitchell's throw into the infield ran all the way into foul ground. Pettibone scooped up the ball and threw home, but his throw ran wide of Joseph, allowing Costanzo to score and Walters to take third base. That gave the Chiefs a 6-0 lead.
The Chiefs added some superfluous insurance in the sixth inning with a five-run explosion. Chris Marrero's bases-loaded walk plated the first run, with Costanzo providing the fireworks just four pitches later. The third baseman slammed a Justin Friend offering over the 17-foot wall in right field for a grand slam, completing the score line.
Those runs were far more than Roark and a trio of relievers would need. Roark allowed just two walks in his six no-hit innings, striking out seven of the 20 batters he faced. He tossed 56 strikes in 89 pitches to earn the win in his first start of the season.
Lehigh Valley finally picked up a hit in the seventh inning when Cody Asche singled off of Jeff Mandel, but Mandel, Fernando Abad and Erik Davis would shut the door with a scoreless inning apiece. The IronPigs ended the game with just four hits in total.
Syracuse looks to clinch a series win on Saturday night at 6:35 in the third game of a four-game series. Right-hander Yunesky Maya will begin his fourth year with the Chiefs in a start against Lehigh Valley left-hander Adam Morgan.