The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, extended their win streak to a season-high seven games on Tuesday night with a 5-1 win over the Columbus Clippers. Xavier Paul's two-run home run in the first inning and Corey Brown's two-run blast backed starter Yunesky Maya, who tossed six and two-thirds innings of one-run ball to earn his third win.
Syracuse (18-21) took an early lead against Clippers right-hander Corey Kluber, who entered the game with a 2.58 ERA in seven starts. Brown led off the game with a walk before Kluber recorded back-to-back outs. But Paul stepped in and crushed a 1-1 pitch off the top of the scoreboard in right-center field for a mammoth home run, the left fielder's fourth of the season and third in six games.
The Chiefs would carry that 2-0 lead into the fifth inning, when Syracuse put the hammer down against Kluber. Catcher Jeff Howell led off the inning with a single, before Brown drove an 0-1 pitch the other way for a home run onto the berm in left-center field, giving the Chiefs a 4-0 lead. The red-hot center fielder's now 9 for 18 with ten runs scored, four doubles, three home runs, seven RBI and five walks in his last five games.
Syracuse tacked on another run in the inning with one out, when Paul doubled in Josh Johnson to give the Chiefs a 5-0 advantage. Kluber would exit after one more batter, tossing just four and one-third innings in his shortest outing of the season.
Meanwhile, Columbus (18-20) continually came up empty at the plate against Maya. The Clippers stranded at least one runner in five of the first six innings, with the Cuban right-hander striking out five batters and walking just two in the game.
The Clippers' lone run came in the seventh, when Andy LaRoche doubled, advanced to third base on a passed ball and scored on a groundout by Matt Pagnozzi. Later in the inning, Maya would eventually leave the game with trainer Atsushi Toriida with a runner on first base and two outs.
Relief pitcher Pat Lehman would enter to get the final out of the seventh inning, thanks to a sliding catch in center field from Corey Brown. Lehman then worked a perfect eighth and recorded the first two outs of the ninth, before Atahualpa Severino entered to retire Ben Copeland and close out the game.
Syracuse will look to extend its winning streak to eight games on Wednesday night at 6:35. Chiefs left-hander John Lannan and Clippers southpaw Chris Seddon are the scheduled starters.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.