The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, dropped their second straight game with a 5-4 loss to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs on Thursday night. First baseman Tyler Moore clubbed two home runs to put the Chiefs up 3-0 through the middle of the fourth, but IronPigs catcher Tuffy Gosewisch hit a fourth-inning grand slam to give Lehigh Valley a lead it would not relinquish.
Moore ignited the Chiefs early in a game that looked like it would be a pitchers' duel. He took left-hander Pat Misch deep on a home run to right field in the second inning, giving Syracuse (2-5) a 1-0 advantage.
But Moore wasn't done there. After a Rick Ankiel single in the fourth inning, the first baseman clubbed an 0-1 delivery from Misch over the left field wall, putting Syracuse ahead by three runs. Moore has now hit four home runs in his last three games, his first four Triple-A long balls.
The 3-0 lead seemed comfortable with starting pitcher Yunesky Maya on the mound, after the right-hander started the game with three innings of no-hit ball. But Lehigh Valley (6-2) turned the tables on Maya in the fourth. Third baseman Kevin Frandsen launched a double off the right field wall - his first hit of the season - and left fielder Domonic Brown followed with a hard single off the fence, advancing Frandsen to third. Second baseman Joe Thurston then hit a ground ball to third base, causing Carlos Rivero to fire to the plate. The throw was well ahead of Frandsen, but Carlos Maldonado missed the tag and Frandsen scrambled back to touch the plate for Lehigh Valley's first run.
In what was now a two-run game, Lehigh Valley kept the pressure on Maya when first baseman Cody Overbeck worked a walk. After a pop-up garnered Maya's first out of the inning, Gosewisch stepped in and blasted Maya's first pitch deep over the right field wall for a grand slam. The home run was the first of Gosewisch's Triple-A career and provided the crushing blow, putting Lehigh Valley ahead 5-3.
Syracuse would rally once more with a two-out flourish in the sixth inning. After reliever Brian Sanches got a pair of quick fly outs, Chiefs shortstop Chris McConnell clubbed a double to left field. Pinch-hitter Jason Michaels then followed with an RBI single to center field, scoring McConnell to cut the lead to one run. Corey Brown would follow with a single, but Seth Bynum bounced out to third base to end the threat with two runners on.
Brown's single would be the last base runner of the night for Syracuse. Left-hander Raul Valdes struck out four batters in two perfect innings, and right-hander Phillippe Aumont worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his second straight save.
The Chiefs will look to salvage the final game of this three-game series on Friday night at 7:05. Left-hander John Lannan takes the ball for the second time for Syracuse with IronPigs left-hander Tom Cochran expected to start for Lehigh Valley.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.