The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, returned to their winning ways in a 14-3 blowout of the Durham Bulls on Thursday night at Durham. The Chiefs scored four runs in the first, third and fourth innings en route to the victory.
Syracuse (42-38) began piling up runs in the first inning against Bulls starter Jim Paduch. Left fielder Corey Brown tripled on the game's first pitch, and right fielder Erik Komatsu singled to right field on the next pitch, scoring Brown for a 1-0 lead. After a Mark Teahen groundout, first baseman Chris Marrero launched an RBI double to right-center field, and designated hitter Xavier Paul followed with an RBI double high off the "Blue Monster", Durham's 32-foot-high wall in left-center field. Two batters later, third baseman Carlos Rivero singled home Paul for a 4-0 lead after one inning.
Durham (38-44) answered with a pair of first-inning runs against Syracuse starter Yunesky Maya in the bottom of the frame. Rich Thompson led off the game with a single, and two batters later, first baseman Henry Wrigley launched a fastball from Maya over the Blue Monster in left field. Wrigley's seventh Triple-A home run cut the Chiefs' lead to 4-2.
But after a scoreless second inning, Syracuse put another four-run spot on the board in the third. Paul began the inning with a double and center fielder Brett Carroll walked before Durham's defense did the Bulls in. Rivero reached on a fielding error by shortstop Tim Beckham, loading the bases with nobody out for catcher Koyie Hill. Hill then hit a slow ground ball to first base that Wrigley bobbled for another error, as Paul scored to increase the lead to 5-2. Shortstop Seth Bynum then stroked a two-run double into the left-center field gap, driving home Carroll and Rivero for a 7-2 lead, and Komatsu's sacrifice fly drove home the inning's fourth run.
The Chiefs continued piling on against Paduch in the top of the fourth inning. Marrero and Paul walked to start the frame, and two batters later, Rivero singled to load the bases. Hill then scored one run with a sacrifice fly before Bynum opened the floodgates. The fourth-year Chiefs infielder launched a three-run home run the other way, just over the right field wall, to extend the Syracuse lead to 12-2.
That was more than enough run support for Maya, who allowed just two runs in six innings to improve his record to 6-5 on the season. Right-hander Jeff Mandel allowed one run in three innings of relief to earn his first save of 2012.
Syracuse added two more runs in the ninth inning when Brown slammed a two-run home run, his team-best 18th of the season. That plated Bynum, who collected three hits, scored two runs and drove in five in the ball game.
The Chiefs and Bulls will return to the field on Friday night at 7:05. Syracuse is slated to send International League All-Star Zach Duke to the mound against Bulls right-hander Matt Buschmann.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.