The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, edged out the Charlotte Knights in a 5-4, 12-inning win on Monday evening. After an opening one-hour, two-minute rain delay, the Chiefs scored a pair of 12th-inning runs and stranded the tying run at third base to end a four-hour, 15-minute affair.
In the 12th inning, Syracuse (28-40) rallied against Tony Pena, Jr. with the benefit of only a single hit - a leadoff infield single from Will Rhymes. Tyler Moore walked and Corey Brown dropped down a sacrifice bunt before an intentional walk to Zach Walters loaded the bases. Pena then hit first baseman Mike Costanzo in the foot to force in Rhymes for a 4-3 Syracuse lead. Third baseman Carlos Rivero followed with a sacrifice fly to center field, extending the Chiefs' advantage to two runs.
The Chiefs would need that insurance run, as Charlotte (29-42) plated a tally of its own in the bottom of the inning. Steve Tolleson and Jim Gallagher started the frame with singles before Syracuse right-hander Mike Crotta retired the next two hitters. Third baseman Brent Morel, however, reached on a two-out, two-strike infield single to score Tolleson and slice the lead to one. Crotta would recover by striking out Brandon Short on three pitches to end the game.
Kris Watts unlocked the scoring for Syracuse with a fifth-inning home run off of Knights starter Andre Rienzo. The left-handed-hitting catcher blasted a two-out, 2-0 pitch over the right-field fence for a solo home run, giving the Chiefs a 1-0 lead.
Charlotte would retaliate immediately in the bottom of the frame with an unearned run against Chiefs starter Ryan Tatusko. Tyler Greene walked to start the inning and advanced two bases on a throwing error by Tatusko on a pickoff attempt. Catcher Bryan Anderson then knocked a sacrifice fly into left field to even the score.
The Chiefs picked up a pair of runs in the sixth inning and knocked out Rienzo. Danny Espinosa and Rhymes walked to start the inning before Moore loaded the bases with a line-drive single. Brown's sacrifice fly to right field plated Espinosa for the inning's first run, and Walters followed up with a run-scoring double to right field. Moore, however, was thrown out at home on the play, holding the Syracuse lead at 3-1.
Once more, the Knights had an answer. Blake Tekotte walked and Carlos Sanchez reached on a bunt single, giving way to Morel. The third baseman knocked a ground ball to third base, with Rivero throwing to second for a force out. But second baseman Brian Bocock's throw to first base sailed into the dugout for an error, scoring Tekotte and slicing the Chiefs' lead to 3-2. Left-hander Xavier Cedeno then entered, and two batters later, first baseman Lars Anderson singled to left field, bringing home Morel and evening the score at three.
Syracuse and Charlotte will play game two of a four-game series on Tuesday night at 7:15. Chiefs left-hander Danny Rosenbaum and Knights left-hander Charlie Leesman are the scheduled starters.