The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, claimed their third straight win with a 5-3 victory over the Gwinnett Braves on Monday night from Coolray Field. Pinch-hitter Josh Johnson's tiebreaking two-run double put the Chiefs ahead for good in the sixth inning and moved Syracuse to a season-high-tying 18 games over .500.
Syracuse (54-36) struck first in the opening inning. Emmanuel Burriss led the game off with a double against former Chiefs starter Yunesky Maya. Two batters later, Steven Souza, Jr. drove him in with a double to left field.
Gwinnett (42-49) answered in the bottom of the frame against right-hander Josh Roenicke. Philip Gosselin doubled with one out and advanced to third base on a Tyler Pastornicky fly out. Gosselin then crossed home on a passed ball against catcher Jhonatan Solano, tying the score at one.
The teams traded volleys again in the third, with the same Syracuse batters supplying the firepower. With one out, Burriss doubled off the right-field wall and advanced to third base on an error by Edward Salcedo. Two batters later, Souza, Jr. clubbed a triple off of Todd Cunningham's glove against the center-field wall, scoring Burriss for a 2-1 lead.
The Braves answered with an extra-base hit of their own. With two outs and the bases clear, Gosselin slammed a game-tying home run to center field on the 10th pitch of his at-bat, evening the score at two runs apiece.
Gwinnett took its first lead in the fifth inning. Jose Constanza led off with a single, advanced to second base on a groundout and stole third base. Pastornicky followed with a sacrifice fly to right field, driving in Constanza for a 3-2 lead.
The Chiefs had an immediate answer in the sixth. Souza and Tyler Moore started the innings with walks, and Greg Dobbs followed with a line-drive single to load the bases. Solano followed by grounding a ball to Gosselin which the third baseman mishandled for an error, allowing Souza to score and tie the game. After Destin Hood grounded into a 5-2-3 double play, Maya intentionally walked Will Rhymes to load the bases. Johnson then stepped up and lined a two-run double into left field, bringing home Dobbs and Solano to give Syracuse a 5-3 lead.
Syracuse looks to close out a series win at 6:35 p.m. on Tuesday against Gwinnett. Chiefs right-hander Taylor Hill, the International League's ERA leader, is scheduled to throw against Braves right-hander Aaron Northcraft.