The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, fell short in the finale of a four-game series with the Durham Bulls in a 4-2 loss on Thursday night. The Bulls scored single runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings before hanging on late for the victory. Syracuse heads back to NBT Bank Stadium on Friday to begin an eight-game homestand.
Durham (21-13) struck first with a two-out, third-inning rally against Chiefs starter Ross Ohlendorf. Center fielder Brandon Guyer started the rally with a double lined to left-center field. Two pitches later, shortstop Mike Fontenot smashed a double over Chris Rahl's head in right field, scoring Guyer for the game's first run.
The Bulls added a fourth-inning score despite only a single hit in the inning. Leslie Anderson walked to lead off the inning, and two batters later, Vince Belnome also worked a walk. After a Chris Gimenez fielder's choice groundout, second baseman Tim Beckham bounced a high chopper over third base for a single. Anderson scored for a 2-0 Durham lead.
Syracuse (13-20) would answer with a pair of extra-base hits in the fifth inning. Designated hitter Micah Owings started the frame against former Chiefs starter J.D. Martin by blasting a massive home run over the 32-foot "Blue Monster" in left field. The home run, Owings' third of the season, cut the Bulls' lead to 2-1. Two batters later, shortstop Zach Walters scorched a one-out triple off the center-field wall. Third baseman Carlos Rivero followed with a groundout to shortstop to drive in Walters and tie the game.
Durham, however, would quickly answer in the bottom of the frame. With one out, Fontenot singled before right fielder Rich Thompson laced a double to right-center field, advancing Fontenot to third base. Anderson followed that with a sacrifice fly to center field, giving the Bulls a 3-2 lead.
The Bulls would another run in the eighth inning thanks to the speed of Thompson. He reached base on a leadoff single, advanced to second base on a groundout, stole third base and eventually scored on a two-strike, two-out wild pitch.
Syracuse, meanwhile, was held in check by Martin, who tossed seven innings of five-hit ball. Right-hander Josh Lueke closed the game out for Durham with a pair of scoreless innings.
The Chiefs head home next to battle the Norfolk Tides on Friday night at 7:00. Syracuse right-hander Chris Young is slated to start against Tides right-hander Josh Stinson.