The Syracuse Chiefs (7-14), the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, lost their fifth straight game Thursday at Alliance Bank Stadium, falling to the Toledo Mud Hens 7-2. Mud Hen lefty Duane Below (2-1) pitched seven one-run innings as the Chiefs' bats couldn't get started until late.
Syracuse starter Tom Milone struck out the first two batters he faced, but Toledo's offense soon caught fire. A Cesar Nicolas sacrifice fly in the second and an Andy Dirks RBI double in the third put the score at 2-0.
Then, the Mud Hens (10-12) exploded for five runs in the fourth. Five singles and a double off Milone (1-3) helped create the scoring outburst before righthander Jeff Mandel stepped to the mound in relief.
Mandel and the rest of the Syracuse bullpen hurled five and one-third scoreless innings, allowing just four hits and striking out four.
The Chiefs offense finally got going halfway through the game. They hit five doubles from the fifth inning on and managed to start a rally in the bottom of the ninth.
With the score at 7-1, Chris Marrero led off with one of those five doubles. After two straight outs, Toledo reliever Zach Simons walked Carlos Maldonado to put runners on first and second. Tugg Hulett hit another two-bagger to score Marrero, and Chris McConnell's walk in the next at-bat loaded the bases. But Boomer Whiting flied out to centerfield to stop the rally short.
Syracuse will look to avoid its first series sweep of the year Friday at 7 p.m. against the Mud Hens at Alliance Bank Stadium. Chiefs righhander Craig Stammen (1-0) will toe the rubber against Toledo lefty Adam Wilk (0-2).
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.