The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, beat the Buffalo Bisons, 5-4, in 11 innings on Monday night at NBT Bank Stadium. Catcher Sandy Leon belted a one-out, walkoff home run off of Luis Ayala in the 11th, sending the Chiefs to a comeback win.
Buffalo (42-40) struck first in the top of the second inning against left-hander Zach Kroenke. With one out in the inning, catcher Erik Kratz walked on nine pitches and designated hitter A.J. Jimenez tripled to deep right-center field to score Kratz. Third baseman Andy LaRoche followed and hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score Jimenez and give the Bisons a 2-0 lead.
Syracuse (51-33) struck back in the bottom of the sixth inning against right-hander Aaron Sanchez. Leon led the inning off with a single to right-center field, and second baseman Josh Johnson followed with a single to left field to put two runners on for Emmanuel Burriss. The shortstop bunted the runners over to second and third for Jeff Kobernus, who followed with a sacrifice fly to score Leon. Center fielder Steven Souza, Jr. tied the game up with a single to left field to score Johnson.
The Bisons retook the lead in the top of the seventh inning. Second baseman Jonathan Diaz led the inning off with a double that landed between Souza and right fielder Destin Hood. Center fielder Kenny Wilson bunted Diaz to third and shortstop Ryan Goins grounded out to first baseman Tyler Moore, stranding Diaz at third. Right-hander Manny Delcarmen then entered the game in relief of left-hander Zach Jackson. Left fielder Kevin Pillar followed and greeted Delcarmen with a single to left field to score Diaz and put Buffalo back on top. First baseman Dan Johnson then doubled to right field to score Pillar and put the Bisons back up by two runs.
The Chiefs would cut into the lead in the bottom of the seventh inning against Sanchez. With one out in the inning, designated hitter Brandon Laird was hit by a pitch. Laird advanced to second on a wild pitch and then to third on a balk by Sanchez. Two batters later, Josh Johnson followed with a single grounded past third baseman Andy LaRoche to score Laird and cut the lead to 4-3.
Syracuse tied the game up again in the bottom of the eighth inning against left-hander Brett Cecil, pitching on major-league rehab. With one out in the inning, Moore crushed a 1-1 pitch from Cecil over the left-field fence to tie the game up at four. The home run was Moore's fourth four-bagger of the year.
That set the stage for Leon's heroics. With one out in the 11th, Leon lined a 1-1 pitch from Ayala and over the fence in right field to give the Chiefs the walkoff win. The home run was Leon's first Syracuse long ball this year and concluded a 21-8 June for Syracuse.
The Chiefs finish their four-game series with the Bisons on Tuesday at 7:00. Right-hander Josh Roenicke is scheduled to take on right-hander Deck McGuire.