The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, swept a doubleheader from the Rochester Red Wings on Sunday. The Chiefs won 5-2 in game one in 10 innings and 7-3 in game two. The fifth and sixth straight wins for the Chiefs moved them to a season-best 21 games over .500.
In the first inning of the first game, the first batter put Syracuse (74-53) out in front. On the game's third pitch, Emmanuel Burriss homered to left off of Rochester (68-61) starter Logan Darnell, giving the Chiefs a 1-0 advantage. It was the second leadoff home run of the season for Burriss, after he did the same August 1st at Pawtucket.
The Red Wings evened the score in the second inning against Syracuse's Taylor Hill. Right fielder Chris Herrmann doubled to begin the action, and moved to third on a fly out. Rochester left fielder Daniel Ortiz then brought home Herrmann with a sacrifice fly.
With the scoreboard still deadlocked, the two division rivals exchanged long balls in the fourth. In the road half, Chiefs first baseman Tyler Moore connected for his ninth homer of the season, well beyond the wall in left-center. The solo blast gave Syracuse a 2-1 lead.
The score remained that way only briefly, however. With two outs and none on in the bottom of the inning, Herrmann homered to deep right off of Hill, squaring the score at two. Herrmann's third homer of the season was the final run Rochester would score in the game.
Tied at two after the seven regulation innings, the two teams were kept in check by each other's bullpens until the Chiefs' half of the 10th. Left fielder Josh Johnson drew a walk with one out, which was followed by a pinch-hit base hit to left by Sandy Leon. Burriss then smacked a single to right, and as Johnson beat the throw from Wilkin Ramirez at the plate, the ball kicked away from catcher Dan Rolhfing, allowing Leon to score on the Rohlfing error. Brandon Laird provided the first-place Chiefs with insurance later in the frame, singling to right-center and bringing in Burriss for a 5-2 lead.
Rafael Martin closed out the victory with a scoreless 10th, extending his streak of not allowing an earned run to 46 and one-third innings pitched. Matt Grace was credited with the win after one and one-third perfect innings of relief.
The day's second game began just as its first ended, as the Chiefs attacked Rochester starter Sean Gilmartin in the first inning. An Eury Perez single to right with the bases loaded scored Burriss for the frame's first run. Two batters later, Johnson walked, forcing in Laird from third. The big blow came in the next at-bat, as Leon sent a well-struck fly ball over the left-field wall for a 6-0 lead. The grand slam was the first one in Leon's professional career and his third homer of the season.
The Red Wings fought back by scoring one run in each of the second and third innings against Syracuse starter Aaron Laffey and another in the fourth off of reliever Mitch Lively. Lively, however, earned his third victory since joining the Chiefs, after throwing two frames of one-run ball.
Seeking an insurance run in the fifth, the Chiefs turned to Perez once more. The right fielder blooped a single to right, plating Burriss and giving the Chiefs a 7-3 lead. Since coming off the DL on July 19th, Perez is hitting .364.
Manny Delcarmen closed out the twin bill with two innings of scoreless relief, securing the Chiefs their first doubleheader sweep in six tries this year. The Chiefs increased their lead in the division to four games over Pawtucket and seven games over Rochester.
The Chiefs will go for the four-game sweep of their rivals Monday night at 7:05 at Frontier Field. Right-hander Scott McGregor will start for Syracuse and will be opposed by right-hander Yohan Pino for Rochester.