The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, split a doubleheader with the Buffalo Bisons Sunday afternoon at Alliance Bank Stadium. After losing 6-1, Syracuse bounced back with a 1-0 victory over Buffalo in the series finale.
Runs were at a premium in game two. Buffalo (9-9) starter Chris Schwinden was perfect for the first three innings, only to give up a home run to Corey Brown to start the fourth. The Chiefs center fielder sent his second homer of the season over the wall in right-center.
Brown's blast was good for the Chiefs lone run. In this case, that was good enough for Syracuse (4-13) because Tanner Roark pitched six scoreless innings. The righty scattered two hits, two walks, and a hit batter.
Roark eluded trouble in the fifth after allowing the first two men in the inning to reach base. Then in the sixth, Roark walked leadoff hitter Raul Reyes to start things off. Michael Fisher followed with a sacrifice bunt to put Reyes into scoring position. A wild pickoff throw by Roark allowed Reyes to move to third with just one out. But Roark recovered, striking out Satin and inducing a groundball to second against cleanup hitter Lutz.
Ryan Perry took the ball from Roark for the bottom of the seventh -- the final inning of the doubleheader -- and made things interesting when he walked leadoff batter Vinny Rottino and allowed a single to left by Matt Tuiasosopo. The next batter, Lucas May, attempted to sacrifice the runners to second and third, but Chiefs first baseman Tyler Moore scooped up the bunt, spun, and fired to Carlos Rivero at third in time to retire Rottino. Omar Quintanilla ensued with a hard comebacker to the mound that Perry snatched on a bounce and threw to shortstop Josh Johnson at second for the second out of the inning. Johnson then quickly relayed to Moore at first to beat out a racing Quintanilla. Perry earned his second save of the season.
Bryce Harper's first Triple-A home run highlighted game one, a 6-1 Chiefs loss. With Syracuse trailing 3-0 in the bottom of the fourth, the 19-year old prospect stepped up to bat with two outs and no one on against Buffalo right-handed starter Jeurys Familia. Harper worked the count to 3-1 before clubbing a knee-high fastball out of the park in right field over the 350-foot marker. The ball also soared over the family picnic area beyond the right field wall. It was Harper's 61st at-bat of the season.
Harper's homer, however, counted for the Chiefs' lone run of the opener. That would be a problem for Syracuse after Zach Lutz hit a two-run homer in the second to give Buffalo a 2-0 lead.
The Bisons added to their advantage in the third by manufacturing an unearned run. Jordany Valdespin led off with an infield single and advanced to second when Chiefs starter Yunesky Maya made a throwing error on a pickoff attempt. Two batters later, Valdespin touched home after Josh Satin singled up the middle.
In the sixth, Syracuse reliever Hassan Pena allowed the first three batters he faced to reach base. That set the table for Quintanilla to break the game open for Buffalo with a bases-clearing, three-run double off to left.
Such offense was plentiful for Familia, who struck out eight in five innings. Jack Egbert threw two innings of scoreless relief in the abbreviated seven-inning contest.
The win snapped a six-game losing streak for Syracuse, which has an off day Monday. The Chiefs return to action Tuesday at 7:05 PM at the Rochester Red Wings. John Lannan will take the hill for Syracuse against Rochester's Cole DeVries.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.