The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, were shut down in a 7-1 loss to the Gwinnett Braves on Tuesday night. Gwinnett rallied once against against the Chiefs bullpen, blowing open a 2-1 game in the seventh inning with a four-run rally against Syracuse righthander Josh Wilkie. Three hits, two walks, and two errors helped the Braves put the game out of reach and hand Syracuse its fifth straight loss
Syracuse (27-42) took an early lead thanks to a strong start to Steve Lombardozzi's Triple-A career. The second baseman, hitting leadoff in his first ever Chiefs game, doubled on an 0-2 count for his first Triple-A hat. Lombardozzi then advanced to third on a Matt Antonelli sacrifice bunt and scored when Tug Hulett doubled him home.
Gwinnett (38-33) struck back on the fourth on the big bat of Stefan Gartrell. The right fielder hit his fourteenth home run on a two-run shot off of Chiefs starter J.D. Martin. Gartrell's first homer of his two in the night put the Braves up 2-1.
That hit was only one of two allowed by Martin, who was otherwise superb for the third straight start. The righthander allowed just two runs, walking two and striking out five in his seventh start of the year.
The Chiefs had rallies cut short in both the sixth and seventh innings. In the sixth, Antonelli's single, a wild pitch, and Chris Marrero's walk put runners on first and third for Jesus Valdez with one out. But Valdez flied out to left field, and Matt Young threw home to get Antonelli at the plate. In the seventh, two walks and a single loaded the bases with one out for Lombardozzi. But lefty Jose Lugo induced a 4-4-3 double play to end the inning.
The Braves blew open the lead against Wilkie in the seventh. Gartrell led off the inning with his second home run of the night, this one a solo shot. Six batters later, pinch-hitter Dan Nelson drove in a run with a 3-2, two-out, bases-loaded walk. Antonelli then committed back-to-back errors on ground balls from Jose Constanza and Young. The Braves tacked on a final run when Ed Lucas homered in the eighth inning.
Syracuse and Gwinnett will play the third of a four-game set Wednesday night at 7:05. IL strikeout leader Tommy Milone will deal for the Chiefs against Braves lefty Yohan Flande.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.