The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, beat the Indianapolis Indians, 5-1, on Friday night at NBT Bank Stadium. Ryan Tatusko pitched six innings of one-run ball to pick up his fourth win of the year.
Indianapolis (35-26) struck first in the top of the first inning off Tatusko. Two pitches into the game, right fielder Gregory Polanco launched a line drive over the right-field wall for the first run in the game. The home run was Polanco's ninth long ball of the year and increased his RBI total to 49, which is the most in the International League.
Syracuse (35-26) struck back in the bottom of the second inning off right-hander Tyler Waldron. With two outs in the inning, catcher Jhonatan Solano singled to left field for the first Chief hit of the game. Center fielder Brian Goodwin then lined a single to put two runners on for Brandon Laird. During the third baseman's at-bat, Indians catcher Nevin Ashley could not hold onto the first pitch from Waldron, for a passed ball, to move Solano and Goodwin to third and second, respectively. Two pitches later, Laird laced a 2-1 pitch into left field for a single to score both base runners to give the Chiefs the 2-1 lead.
The Chiefs would score again in the bottom of the fourth inning off Waldron. First baseman Tyler Moore singled to left field, left fielder Destin Hood grounded into a fielder's choice and Solano walked. Goodwin followed and grounded a seeing-eye single past a diving second baseman Michael Martinez to score Hood. After a Laird strikeout, Tatusko helped out his own cause by hitting a bloop single to right field to score Solano and increase the lead to 4-1.
Syracuse tacked onto its lead in the bottom of the eighth inning off left-handed reliever Andy Oliver. Solano singled to center field, Goodwin walked and Polanco misfielded a Laird pop out to load the bases. The error was Polanco's sixth of the year. Pinch-hitter Brock Peterson grounded into a double play and with two outs, shortstop Emmanuel Burriss singled to center to score Burriss.
The Indians did not go down without a fight in the top of the ninth inning against right-hander Warner Madrigal. After Ashley grounded out, left fielder Mel Rojas Jr. and Martinez singled to put two runners on. Second baseman Blake Davis flew out to center field to put the Chiefs one out away from the win with Polanco walking to the plate. Polanco walked on five pitches to load the bases to bring the tying run, shortstop Robert Andino, to the plate. Madrigal stuck out Andino on four pitches to strand the bases loaded and secure the victory.
The Chiefs shuffle off to Buffalo for a home-and-home, four-game series with the Bisons, beginning Saturday at 6:05. Left-hander Aaron Laffey will start for Syracuse against right-hander Kyle Drabek.