The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, lost to the Buffalo Bisons, 5-4, on Sunday. Buffalo took a two-run lead in the fifth inning and never relinquished it. Jeff Kobernus stole three bases in the game to push his season total to 42.
Buffalo (73-70) got on the board first in the top of the third inning against Syracuse starter Ryan Tatusko. Mike Nickeas led off with a single to left field. Mike McCoy then reached first base on a bunt single. Jim Negrych laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third base. Mauro Gomez followed with a sacrifice fly to left field to score Nickeas for the first run of the game. The next batter, Luis Jimenez, singled on a soft line drive to left field that scored McCoy to give the Bisons a 2-0 lead.
Syracuse (66-77) got a run back in the bottom of the third inning against Buffalo starter Ricky Romero. With one out, Eury Perez doubled down the line in right field. Perez then stole third base. Kobernus made it to first base on an infield single to put runners on the corners with two outs. He followed by stealing second base with Danny Espinosa at the plate. Espinosa hit a pop-up single to shallow center field that scored Perez to cut the deficit to one.
The Chiefs tied the game in the bottom of the fourth inning. Corey Brown singled to start the frame. He advanced to second base on a Zach Walters sacrifice bunt. Brown then moved to third on a groundout by Chris Rahl. The next batter, Jimmy Van Ostrand, smacked a double down the left-field line that brought home Brown to tie the game at two.
The Bisons took the lead in the top of the fifth inning. McCoy led off with a single. Negrych then worked a walk. Gomez followed with a single to load the bases with nobody out. Jimenez lifted a sacrifice fly to center field that sent McCoy across home plate for a 3-2 Buffalo lead. Andy LaRoche answered with a sacrifice fly of his own that scored Negrych to give the Bisons a two-run advantage.
One more run crossed the plate for Buffalo in the seventh inning. Negrych singled to start the frame. He then stole second base. With two outs, LaRoche made it to first on an error by Walters. Negrych scored on the play to make the score 5-2.
Syracuse got a little bit closer in the bottom of the eighth inning. Kobernus worked a leadoff walk. With one out and Chris Marrero at the plate, Kobernus stole second base. Marrero then singled to right field, but was thrown out trying to stretch the play into a double. However, Kobernus scored to cut the Buffalo lead to 5-3.
Another Chiefs run crossed the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning. Rahl singled to lead off. He moved to second base on a Van Ostrand groundout. The next batter, Kris Watts, singled in Rahl to bring the Chiefs within one run. However, Perez lined into a double play to end the game.
Syracuse wraps its season on Monday at 2:00 against Buffalo. Left-hander Danny Rosenbaum takes the hill for the Chiefs against right-hander Thad Weber for the Bisons.