The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, split a doubleheader with the Buffalo Bisons on Monday night from Coca-Cola Field. Syracuse claimed a 5-3 game-one win behind a four-run first inning, before Buffalo won, 3-2, in the nightcap.
Five consecutive Syracuse (57-67) batters reached to start the first game against Bisons left-hander Ricky Romero. Jeff Kobernus singled and stole both second and third base before Corey Brown walked. Shortstop Danny Espinosa scored Kobernus with a first-pitch single to center field, and Tyler Moore walked to load the bases. First baseman Chris Marrero then ignited the inning with a three-run double to the left-center field gap, clearing the bases to give the Chiefs a 4-0 lead.
Buffalo (64-59) retaliated with two runs in the bottom of the inning against Chiefs starter Yunesky Maya. Mike McCoy and Anthony Gose started the inning with singles, with McCoy advancing to third base on Gose's base hit. Kevin Pillar's sacrifice fly to center field scored McCoy, cutting the lead to 4-1. Gose then stole both second and third base before coming home on a one-out sacrifice fly from Clint Robinson.
The Chiefs added a third-inning tally thanks to Espinosa and Moore. The former led off the inning with a single, before the latter drilled a double down the left-field line. Espinosa scored for a 5-2 Syracuse advantage.
The Bisons' final run of the game came on a fourth-inning sacrifice fly by Luis Jimenez, scoring Moises Sierra after a triple. Maya, however, would retire seven consecutive batters beginning with the sacrifice fly, and left-hander Xavier Cedeno recorded the game's final three outs in a scoreless seventh inning to earn the save.
In game two, Buffalo grabbed another two-run mark in the first inning. With one out, Gose reached on an error by Chiefs starter Danny Rosenbaum and Pillar took first base on an error by shortstop Zach Walters, advancing Gose to third base. Two batters later, Sierra scored Gose from third base with a sacrifice fly to left field. Third baseman Andy LaRoche knocked the next pitch into center field for an RBI single, plating Pillar to give the Bisons a 2-0 lead.
Syracuse scored its first run of the game in the third inning. Kobernus singled and Will Rhymes walked to start the inning against right-hander Bobby Korecky. Espinosa then loaded the bases with nobody out on a ground-ball single to left field. The next batter, Moore, grounded into a fielder's choice to shortstop, with Rhymes forced out at third base. Kobernus scored on the play, cutting the Buffalo lead to 2-1. Espinosa, however, was caught stealing a few pitches later, and after a Brown single, right-hander Joel Carreno entered and ended the inning on a Marrero fly out.
The Bisons added an insurance tally in the fourth inning. Jim Negrych and Sean Ochinko began the frame on back-to-back walks, ending Rosenbaum's night in favor of right-hander Cole Kimball. After a wild pitch advanced the runners, McCoy reached on a one-out error by Walters, scoring Negrych for Buffalo's third run.
Down to their final out, the Chiefs launched a seventh-inning rally. With Rhymes on second base and right-hander Jeremy Jeffress in the game, Brown lined a 2-2 pitch into the left-center field gap for an RBI double. Jeffress, though, struck out Marrero looking to end the game.
The Chiefs and Bisons will conclude a three-game, two-day series on Tuesday night at 7:05. Syracuse right-hander Taylor Hill and Buffalo right-hander Thad Weber are the scheduled starters.