The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, dropped the first of a three-game series with a 6-0 loss to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs on Saturday afternoon. IronPigs left-hander Adam Morgan shut down the Chiefs with eight scoreless innings as Syracuse saw its three-game winning streak snapped.
Lehigh Valley (3-4) struck for a pair of first-inning runs in bizarre fashion against Chiefs starting pitcher Tanner Roark. After right fielder Leandro Castro's double to start the game, second baseman Cesar Hernandez hit a ground ball back to Roark, who caught Castro in a rundown between second and third base. However, Castro advanced when third baseman Carlos Rivero missed a tag, and he then broke for the plate with no one covering home. Shortstop Zach Walters' throw sailed over the heads of both late-arriving catcher Jhonatan Solano and Roark, enabling Hernandez to take third base on the play's second error. Two batters later, Darin Ruf's RBI groundout gave Lehigh Valley a 2-0 lead.
The IronPigs then seized complete control in the sixth inning with a four-run rally. Third baseman Cody Asche and Ruf singled to start the frame, bringing up first baseman Josh Fields. He lined an 0-1 pitch into the right-field bullpen for a triple, scoring both runners for a 4-0 lead. The IronPigs' advantage grew to 5-0 when catcher Tommy Joseph followed by punching a single into right field, scoring Fields. Three batters later, Morgan got in on the action with his first career hit - an RBI single off of reliever Fernando Abad.
Those six runs were more than enough for Morgan, who held down a Chiefs offense that had scored 50 runs in the season's first six games. He surrendered just three hits in eight shutout innings, before the Chiefs picked up a fourth hit against Cesar Jimenez in the ninth inning. Second baseman Will Rhymes paced Syracuse (5-2) with two hits, including a double, on the day.
Syracuse and Lehigh Valley conclude their series on Sunday afternoon with a doubleheader starting at 2:00. Chiefs right-handers Yunesky Maya and Ryan Perry are scheduled to start, with left-hander Ethan Martin and right-hander B.J. Rosenberg slated to throw for the IronPigs.