The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, won the first of a four-game series with the Rochester Red Wings on Tuesday in walkoff fashion, 8-7. Jimmy Van Ostrand's single in the bottom of the 13th inning plated Jeff Kobernus from third base, winning the game for Syracuse.
In the fateful 13th, Kobernus led off the inning by laying down a bunt for a base hit. Third baseman Mike Costanzo then laid down a sacrifice bunt, but a throwing error by Ray Olmedo advanced Costanzo to first. With runners on first and second base, Will Rhymes also put down a sacrifice, moving the runners over to second and third base. After an intentional walk to Micah Owings, Van Ostrand's single into left field scored Kobernus, giving Syracuse (8-10) the victory.
Rochester (5-14) got on the board first in the top half of the first inning. After a leadoff single by Eric Farris, a base hit by Clete Thomas one batter later moved Farris to third. With runners on the corners and one out, Chris Colabello hit a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring Farris from third to take a 1-0 lead.
Rochester padded the lead with four more runs in the top of the third. Farris led off the inning with a home run to left field to increase the lead to 2-0. After a Chris Herrmann walk and Thomas single, Colabello hit his second sacrifice fly, scoring Herrmann from third to take a 3-0 lead. After a Jeff Clement fly out, Nate Hanson nailed a two-run home run to left field to up the lead to five runs.
The Chiefs would get on the board in the bottom of the third inning with a two-out rally. After a Chris Rahl single, Eury Perez belted a double into left field, scoring Rahl from first to make it a 5-1 ballgame. Next up, Jeff Kobernus hit a ground ball to third, but a throwing error by Hanson let Perez cross the plate to reduce the Red Wings lead to three.
Syracuse would get one more in the bottom of the fourth when Micah Owings hammered his first home run since opening day. The long ball put the Chiefs within a pair.
The Red Wings, however, would answer with one run of their own in the top of the fifth. Thomas led off the inning with his third homer of the season to give Rochester a 6-3 lead.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Chiefs launched a rally that nearly tied the score. After a leadoff single from Perez and a Kobernus fielder's choice groundout, Costanzo reached on a throwing error by Hanson. With runners on first and second, Chris Marrero singled to left field, scoring Kobernus from second to make the score 6-4. The next batter, Owings, singled into right field, loading the bases for Van Ostrand. But Daniel Turpen replaced Caleb Thielbar on the mound and induced an inning-ending double play.
But Syracuse was far from done, with the Chiefs scoring a pair of eighth-inning runs to even the score. Zach Walters led off the inning with a solo home run to right field, slicing the deficit to 6-5. The long ball was Walters' fourth solo shot in five homers this season. Jeff Howell then followed with a single before Rahl moved him over with a sacrifice bunt. One batter later, Perez singled home Howell to tie the game, though the center fielder was thrown out at second trying to stretch his hit into a double.
Rochester would strike first in extra innings when Evan Bigley singled and stole second base in the 11th inning. With two outs, Farris then hit a ground ball to Rhymes at third base. But Rhymes' throw sailed high for an error, scoring Bigley to give the Red Wings a 7-6 lead.
The Chiefs then answered right away with a run in the bottom of the frame. After two quick outs, Costanzo walked to keep the inning alive. Rhymes then came up to bat, one out away from defeat, and tripled down the right-field line, scoring Costanzo to knot the game up at 7-7 and set the stage for Van Ostrand's eventual heroics.
Syracuse and Rochester will resume their four-game series on Wednesday night at 6:00. Chiefs right-hander Ryan Tatusko is slated to throw against left-hander Andrew Albers.