The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, couldn't overcome an early hole in a 4-3 loss to the Pawtucket Red Sox on Monday night.
Early on, the pitchers took advantage of the near 90-degree weather. Chiefs' starter Tanner Roark and Red Sox righty Ross Ohlendorf both cruised for the first two innings without allowing a hit.
Pawtucket (7-5) finally broke through in the third inning. After Roark struck out the first two Red Sox, second baseman Tony Thomas blasted a homer over the 405-foot mark in left-center field to score the game's first run.
Syracuse (3-8) picked up its first hit with two outs in the bottom of the fourth as Tyler Moore, playing left field for the first time in his career, looped a two-strike pitch to center field for a base hit. Bryce Harper followed with a frozen rope up the middle for the Chiefs' second consecutive hit. But the Chiefs' threat would flicker out, as Mark Teahen flew out to center to end the inning.
Thomas touched up Roark again in the fifth. After an Alex Hassan single, Thomas crushed another home run, this time to deep right-center field. That gave Pawtucket a 3-0 lead.
The long ball nipped Roark again in the top of the sixth. Pawtucket catcher Ryan Lavarnway teed off on the second pitch of the frame for a solo home run to right field. One out later, Roark was lifted from the game in favor of reliever Atahualpa Severino. Roark allowed those four runs on six hits, while striking out five.
Meanwhile, Ohlendorf dazzled through the first six innings, allowing just three hits, but the Chiefs got to him in the seventh. Harper led off the inning by stretching a line drive to left into a double, and Teahen followed with a single to center that scored Harper for the Chiefs' first run. Jhonatan Solano was promptly plunked and Carlos Rivero reached on an error to load the bases. Infielder Josh Johnson, in his Syracuse debut, then bounced a ball to first base. The throw home from Lars Anderson pulled the catcher Lavarnway off the plate to score Teahen and keep the bases loaded. That chased Ohlendorf from the game.
Former Chief Garrett Mock entered for the Red Sox with a 4-2 lead. He was welcomed to the game with an RBI single by Corey Brown, which brought home Solano. But Mock escaped further damage with three straight strikeouts, retiring Bynum, Michaels, and Moore to leave the bases loaded and preserve the 4-3 Pawtucket lead.
Syracuse had one last threat in the ninth. After Junichi Tazawa induced a Carlos Rivero groundout to start the frame, Johnson doubled down the left field line to put the tying run on second base. With Brown at the plate, Johnson was then caught trying to swipe third for the second out. Brown followed with a groundout to first to end the game.
The Chiefs and Red Sox play game two of a four-game series Tuesday night at 6 PM. Right-hander Yunesky Maya takes the mound for Syracuse, while another righty, Justin Germano wil get the start for the Red Sox.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.