The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, came back for an 8-6 win over the Lehigh Valley IronPigs on Sunday afternoon. The Chiefs used three two-run home runs, including two from Corey Brown, with his final long ball breaking a 6-6 tie in the ninth inning. The win clinched a series victory for the Chiefs, who took three of four in the season's first set of games.
Lehigh Valley (1-3) scored runs in each of the game's first three innings against Syracuse starter Ryan Perry. The IronPigs' first came after a rally that started with a Leandro Castro leadoff double. Three batters later, left fielder Darin Ruf punched him home with a sacrifice fly.
In the second inning, Castro did the damage. He lined a two-run single to left field with the bases loaded and one out, scoring Steve Susdorf and Michael Martinez for a 3-0 advantage.
Syracuse (3-1) then retaliated against Triple-A rookie Ethan Martin. With one out, center fielder Eury Perez walked and left fielder Jeff Kobernus singled, bringing up second baseman Will Rhymes. After a wild pitch advanced the runners, Rhymes smacked a two-run single into right field, cutting the lead to 3-2. That set the stage for Brown, who promptly smashed a two-run home run into right field, putting the Chiefs ahead, 4-3. The home run was the first of the season for Brown, who led Syracuse in 2012 with 25 homers.
In the bottom of the frame, the IronPigs tied the game at four with an RBI groundout from catcher Tommy Joseph.
Lehigh Valley then blasted off on Perry in the fifth inning, starting the frame with three straight doubles. Second baseman Cesar Hernandez started the frame with a two-base hit before third baseman Cody Asche doubled him home. Ruf then slammed a two-base hit into right-center field, adding to the Pigs' lead, which stood at 6-4.
But the Chiefs were far from finished. After a leadoff walk for Mike Costanzo in the eighth against right-hander Zach Miner, shortstop Zach Walters stepped up to the plate and took a pair of balls. Walters then unloaded on a 2-0 pitch, crushing a home run to the left of straightaway center field to even the score at six. The home run was Walters' third in four games to begin the year.
In the ninth, Brown blasted off to put the Chiefs in front. Perez started the inning with an infield single before being forced out on a Kobernus bunt attempt. After Kobernus stole second base and Rhymes grounded out, Brown took a strike before launching a Minor pitch the other way into the left-field bullpen for his second home run of the game. That put Syracuse ahead by the ultimately final 8-6 score.
Right-hander Mike Crotta would seal the win with a pair of scoreless innings. He worked a 1-2-3 ninth against Hernandez, Asche and Ruf, sending the Chiefs on the road with a season-starting series win.
The Chiefs next hit the road on Monday for the start of a three-game series against the Buffalo Bisons. Left-hander Danny Rosenbaum will make his Syracuse debut in a game slated to start at 6:05.