The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, completed a four-game sweep of the Pawtucket Red Sox with a 3-1 win on Thursday night at Alliance Bank Stadium. The Chiefs erased a 1-0 deficit with two runs in the sixth inning to cap off their third come-from-behind victory in four nights.
Pawtucket (45-29), which struggled to hit with runners in scoring position throughout the series, stranded runners at second and third in both the second and third innings. Syracuse's starter John Lannan also received help from his defense in the third, as third baseman Jarrett Hoffpauir threw out Pedro Ciriaco at home plate on a grounder by Mauro Gomez.
The first-place Red Sox, however, cashed in against Lannan in the fifth inning. Second baseman Tony Thomas led off the frame with a home run over the right field wall. Thomas' homer to make it 1-0 was his second of the series.
Meanwhile, Syracuse (36-37) was unable to capitalize on a couple of early scoring opportunities of its own. The Chiefs left the bases loaded against Red Sox starter Billy Buckner in the first, and an inning later, the home team couldn't make use of a Jim Negrych double. Buckner left the game after five frames leading 1-0.
Despite the lack of early offense, Lannan kept the Chiefs in the game with six innings of one-run baseball. Syracuse's bats finally supported their left-handed starter in the bottom of the sixth against Pawtucket reliever Alex Wilson. Chris Marrero started with a walk and scored the game-tying run when Brett Carroll ripped a triple to right-center field. Carlos Rivero followed and singled to center to give the Chiefs a 2-1 lead.
The Red Sox threatened in the seventh when Thomas doubled off of reliever Pat Lehman. But Lehman retired the next two he faced and lefty Atahualpa Severino came on to strikeout Josh Kroeger for the final out of the inning to preserve Syracuse's 2-1 advantage. Severino also pitched a perfect eighth.
The Chiefs' gave their bullpen some insurance in the bottom of the eighth. After Pawtucket pitcher Mark Prior walked the bases loaded, Negrych converted on the RBI-opportunity with a sacrifice fly to make it 3-1.
Henry Rodriguez earned the save in the ninth for Syracuse. The hard-throwing right-hander induced two ground ball outs before walking a pair. With the tying runs on base, Rodriguez forced Pedro Ciriaco to fly out to close the Chiefs' 3-1 victory and four-game sweep of the Red Sox.
Syracuse looks to extend its four-game win streak on Friday as it continues its 20-game homestand at 7:00 PM at Alliance Bank Stadium with a new series against the Gwinnett Braves. Tanner Roark is set to start for the Chiefs opposed by the Braves' Yohan Flande. Fireworks will be on display after the game.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.