The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, dropped an 11-inning heartbreaker to the Norfolk Tides on Sunday in a 6-5 loss. The Chiefs lost a two-run lead in the eighth inning before tying the game in the ninth, but Travis Ishikawa's walkoff single in the bottom of the 11th gave Norfolk the victory.
Norfolk (20-10) plated the final run against Mike Crotta - the seventh Syracuse pitcher of the day. Jason Pridie began the inning with a single to left field before Yamaico Navarro grounded a double down the right-field line, advancing Pridie to third base. Chiefs manager Tony Beasley argued the play and was thrown out by first-base umpire Travis Carlson. Crotta then intentionally walked Russ Canzler to load the bases before striking out Danny Valencia. Ishikawa, however, grounded the next pitch to the left of second base, scoring Pridie to send the Tides home with a win.
For the fourth straight day in the series, Norfolk scored the game's first run, as the Tides struck for a pair in the bottom of the first inning against Chiefs starter Chris Young. Pridie and Navarro began the frame with singles, putting runners at first and second. After Young recorded a pair of outs, Ishikawa slashed a double down the right-field line, plating both runners for a 2-0 lead.
Syracuse (10-19), however, would retaliate with the game's next four runs. In the fourth inning, Jeff Kobernus singled with one out against Tides starter Josh Stinson. Two batters later, designated hitter Micah Owings blasted a triple up into the wind gusts in center field to score Kobernus. After a walk to Carlos Rivero, shortstop Zach Walters grounded a single into left field, sending Owings home for a 2-2 tie.
The Chiefs then took the lead in the sixth inning. With two outs and Owings at first base, first baseman Mike Costanzo knocked a ground ball to the left of Tides second baseman Yamaico Navarro for a base hit. Owings came home for his second run to put the Chiefs ahead, 3-2.
Syracuse added what seemed to be an insurance run against Norfolk reliever Alex Burnett in the seventh. With two outs, Kobernus singled and stole second base. He then came home on a bloop single to center field from Will Rhymes, giving the Chiefs a two-run lead.
But the Tides launched an unlikely rally in the eighth inning. With two outs and nobody on base, right-hander Tanner Roark hit L.J. Hoes with a pitch. Beasley then brought in left-hander J.C. Romero, who promptly walked switch-hitter Trayvon Robinson on four pitches. Exposito followed by smashing the next pitch over the right-field wall, putting the Tides back in the lead on their only hit of the inning.
In the top of the ninth, Norfolk closer Jairo Asencio entered the game looking to earn his ninth save in nine chances. However, the Chiefs spoiled that possibility, starting with a one-out single from Eury Perez. After a groundout from Kobernus advanced Perez to second base, Rhymes smacked a single into right field, scoring Perez to tie the game. Rhymes would be thrown out at second base on the play to end the inning.
Each team then squandered an opportunity in extra innings before the deciding run. The Tides stranded runners at first and third in the 10th inning when Erik Davis induced a foul pop out from Exposito. In the following half-inning, Syracuse left the bases loaded when Adam Russell struck out Owings. That set the stage for Ishikawa's eventual game-winner.
Syracuse next heads to North Carolina for a four-game series with the Durham Bulls. Chiefs right-hander Yunesky Maya and Bulls right-hander Chris Archer are slated to start in Monday night's 7:00 opener.