The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, won their sixth straight game with a 9-0 shutout victory over the Durham Bulls on Sunday night. The Chiefs scored in five separate innings and moved a season-high four-and-one-half games up on Rochester in the International League North Division. Syracuse has now thrown 11 shutouts this season, the best mark in the International League.
Syracuse (46-30) grabbed the game's first run just three batters in against major-league rehabber Jeremy Hellickson. With two outs and the bases clear, right fielder Steven Souza, Jr. clobbered a home run over the 32-foot left-field wall. Souza's ninth home run of the year gave the Chiefs a 1-0 lead.
In the second, Syracuse padded its advantage. Jhonatan Solano and Brandon Laird started the inning with back-to-back singles. After a strikeout, Brock Peterson was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Josh Johnson followed with a ground ball to second base, with Peterson forced out at second. Shortstop Hak-Ju Lee, however, threw wide of first for an error, allowing Solano and Laird to score for a 3-0 lead.
The Chiefs grabbed another three runs in the fifth inning. With one out, Emmanuel Burriss was hit by a pitch and Will Rhymes singled. Two batters later, Tyler Moore smashed a two-run double off the base of the left-field wall, giving Syracuse a 5-0 lead. Solano lined a single to center field two pitches later to score Moore.
In the sixth, Syracuse scored against Durham (43-35) reliever Merrill Kelly. Brian Goodwin doubled, advanced to third base on a Peterson fly out and scored on a fielder's choice from Johnson.
The Chiefs' final flourish came in the eighth. With two outs and the bases clear, Burriss singled, Rhymes walked and Kelly threw a wild pitch. Souza followed with a two-run double to the right-center field gap, capping the Syracuse scoring.
The offensive outburst backed another stellar outing from Blake Treinen. The right-hander threw six innings of three-hit ball, walking three and striking out a season-high eight. The Chiefs have now won in seven of Treinen's eight starts on the season.
Syracuse aims for a series sweep of Durham on Monday afternoon at 1:05. Chiefs left-hander Aaron Laffey and Bulls left-hander Mike Montgomery are the scheduled starters.