Henderson Alvarez went 2-for-3 with a two-run single and tossed seven innings allowing just three runs as the IronPigs (76-61) defeated the Syracuse Chiefs (53-84) by the score of 7-4 Wednesday night at NBT Bank Stadium in Syracuse, NY.
The win marks the 700th victory in franchise history in just the 10th season of IronPigs baseball and keeps the Pigs playoff hopes alive. At the time of print, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders held a 4-3 lead over the Rochester Red Wings. If the RailRiders lead holds, the Pigs would trail the Red Wings by two games in the International League Wild Card standings with just five games to play.
The right-hander helped himself as singled home two runs in the top of the sixth, plating Brock Stassi and Angelo Mora with two outs and the bases loaded. The two-run single gave the Pigs a 5-2 advantage before the Chiefs scored a run in the bottom half of the inning to trim the Pigs lead to 5-3.
Neftali Soto came around to score from third on a balk by Alvarez after doubling to center and advancing to third on a fly out to right by Clint Robinson. After issuing the balk, Alvarez struck out the final two batters of the frame to keep the Pigs up two.
The 27-year-old jumpstarted a Pigs three-run third for the Pigs, as the pitcher laced a lead-off double to right-center field. Scott Kingery gave the Pigs the early 1-0 lead with a base hit up the middle plating Alvarez, as Kingery advanced to second on an error by second baseman Brandon Snyder.
J.P. Crawford singled home Kingery to up the Pigs lead to 2-0 with no outs in the frame with Cameron Perkins coming to bat. Perkins kept the streak of base hits by the Pigs alive, as he recorded their fourth-consecutive hit of the inning. After Brock Stassi popped out to Chiefs third baseman, Angelo Mora bounced a RBI single into left field scoring Crawford to up the Pigs lead to 3-0.
The Chiefs answered back with a two-run inning in the bottom of the fifth to bring Syracuse within a run of the Pigs. Alvarez issued a one-out walk to Spencer Kieboom, and came around to score from first on a RBI two-bagger from Michael Almanzar to put the Chiefs on the Board as they trailed 3-1. A.J. Cole then singled to advance Almanzar to third, who came around to score on a RBI groundout by Rafael Bautista to bring the Chiefs within a run as they trailed 3-2.
After the Pigs added a two runs in the sixth, they again put a two-spot on the board in the eighth inning to extend their lead to 7-3. Mora led off the frame by reaching on a two-base throwing error, and scored on a RBI double from Andrew Pullin to up the Pigs lead to 6-3. Two batters later, Carlos Tocci pinch hit for Alvarez and blooped in a two-out single to score Pullin from third to cap of the two-run frame giving the Pigs a 7-3 lead.
Alvarez's night was done after seven inning, giving way to left-handed reliever Cesar Ramos. Alvarez finished his night surrendering just three runs in seven innings while striking out a trifecta of Chiefs bats.
Neftali Soto edged the Chiefs closer with a two-out solo home run off the southpaw Ramos in the bottom of the eighth to bring trim the Pigs lead to 7-4.
Pedro Beato came on to toss the bottom of the ninth for the Pigs, and the Pigs single-season saves leader retired the Chiefs in order to notch his 30th save of the season. Beato, who was named an International League All-Star earlier Wednesday morning, became the first IronPigs relieve to be named a postseason All-Star.
The series concludes with game four of the four-game set Thursday night NBT Bank Stadium. The Pigs will send right-hander Tom Eshelman (9-3, 2.37), and the Chiefs will send right-hander Jaron Long (4-5, 4.18). First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.
The 2017 Season is the IronPigs 10th Anniversary season at Coca-Cola Park and 10th as the top affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. The IronPigs are debuting the brand-new Bacon, USA, Membership Program this season -- a year-round IronPigs experience pass featuring numerous new amenities such as savings on parking at games and at the Majestic Clubhouse Store at Coca-Cola Park, on-field VIP access to watch batting practice, access to an annual holiday party, an invitation to an exclusive player and coaches photo session and more. For more information, visit ironpigsbaseball.com or call (610) 841-PIGS (7447). Memberships and group outings are on sale now.
The 2017 IronPigs baseball season is presented by Capital BlueCross.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.