The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, had their six-game win streak snapped in an 9-5 loss to the Gwinnett Braves on Monday night. Pinch-hitter Ernesto Mejia hit a game-winning, three-run home run for Gwinnett as part of a five-run ninth inning, sending the Chiefs to their first loss since May 19.
In the ninth, closer Erik Davis entered with a 5-4 Syracuse lead and recorded the inning's first out. But the Braves strung together three consecutive singles from Joey Terdoslavich, Brandon Boggs and Joe Leonard, with the last of the three scoring Terdoslavich to tie the game. Mejia then pinch-hit for shortstop Paul Janish and blasted a 2-1 pitch over the left-field wall, giving Gwinnett an 8-5 lead. Right-hander Cole Kimball relieved Davis for the next batter, catcher Matt Pagnozzi, who knocked a home run of his own down the left-field line for the game's final run.
Syracuse (22-28) grabbed the game's first tally in the bottom of the second inning against Braves starter Omar Poveda. With one out, third baseman Mike Costanzo drilled a full-count pitch off the center-field wall for his first triple of the year. He scored three pitches later when shortstop Zach Walters grounded out to second base.
Gwinnett (22-30) would answer with four runs in its next turn at bat. Paul Janish and Matt Pagnozzi walked against Chiefs starter Ryan Tatusko to start the top of the third inning, and Poveda sacrificed the runners to second and third base. Left fielder Jose Constanza followed suit with a single to left field, scoring Janish to tie the game at one. Center fielder Todd Cunningham then added two more runs with a double into the left-center field gap, plating both runners for a 3-1 lead. Cunningham would eventually score the inning's final run on a wild pitch.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Walters and the Chiefs got three of those runs back. Micah Owings stroked an 0-2 pitch to center field for a one-out single before Costanzo blooped a single to left field. Walters delivered the next pitch over the right-field wall for a game-tying three-run home run to even the score at four runs apiece.
First baseman Chris Marrero helped put the Chiefs ahead in the fifth inning thanks to an unearned run. With two outs, Corey Brown reached on a fielding error by Terdoslavich at first base. After Brown stole second base, Marrero knocked a broken-bat single into left field, scoring the Chiefs' left fielder for a 5-4 lead. That run would serve as the final tally until the ninth inning.
Syracuse and Gwinnett will play the second game of their four-game series on Tuesday night at 7:00. Chiefs right-hander Matt Torra and Braves left-hander Daniel Rodriguez are the scheduled starters.