The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, swept a Wednesday night doubleheader with the Charlotte Knights from Knights Stadium. Syracuse claimed a 3-2 win in the first game before coming back for a 7-5 win in the second. The Chiefs will look to claim a series win on Thursday night.
Syracuse (67-72) got the scoring started in the fifth inning of the doubleheader's first game. The Chiefs put three straight singles together against Charlotte starter Matt Zaleski, with Mark Teahen, Carlos Rivero and Sandy Leon all delivering hits. Leon's single drove in Teahen for a 1-0 lead, and two batters later, Rivero scored from third base on a Jesus Valdez sacrifice fly.
The Knights immediately countered in the bottom of the inning off of Syracuse starter Zach Duke. Catcher Josh Phegley blasted off with one out for a solo home run to left field, cutting the lead to 2-1.
The two teams then traded sixth-inning scores. In the top of the frame, Teahen singled to center field with two outs, driving in Eury Perez from second base.
In the bottom of the inning, Charlotte (80-59) countered. Brent Morel's two-out double scored Greg Golson from first base, cutting the Chiefs' lead to 3-2. Right-hander Erik Davis then replaced Duke and induced an inning-ending groundout from Phegley, before Christian Garcia tossed a scoreless seventh frame for the game one save.
The Knights started game two in a much stronger offensive fashion, as Charlotte collected a pair of first-inning runs against Chiefs right-hander Yunesky Maya. Major-league rehabbers Alejandro de Aza and Orlando Hudson started the game with back-to-back singles before Conor Jackson scored de Aza on a fielder's choice groundout. Two batters later, Hector Gimenez launched a sacrifice fly to left field, extending the Knights' lead to 2-0.
Charlotte added another pair of runs in the fourth inning. With two outs, Jared Mitchell scored from third base on a Maya wild pitch. de Aza then laced a run-scoring double to right field, plating Tommy Manzella to give the Knights a four-run advantage.
But the Chiefs retaliated in explosive fashion. Against left-hander Santos Rodriguez in the fifth inning, Corey Brown tripled to deep center field, scoring Jarrett Hoffpauir for the team's first run. Teahen followed with a bloop single to left field to knock in Brown and cut the lead to 4-2.
Syracuse then took the lead with a four-run outburst against right-hander Brian Omogrosso in the sixth. With one out, Zach Walters walked before Valdez blasted an RBI double to right field, slicing the Charlotte lead to 4-3. After a Hoffpauir single put runners at the corners, Perez grounded an 0-2 pitch into center field, plating Valdez to even the score at four. Josh Johnson followed with a lineout before Brown walked, loading the bases for Teahen. The Syracuse first baseman then grounded a single into left field to score Hoffpauir and Perez, giving the Chiefs their first lead of the game at 6-4.
Syracuse hung on despite some trouble in the bottom of the sixth inning. Left-hander Atahualpa Severino issued three walks in two-thirds of an inning, but Pat Lehman rescued Syracuse by inducing a groundout from Jackson to escape the frame.
In the seventh, Jesus Valdez added an insurance run with a solo home run to deep left field. The first Syracuse homer in nine games gave the Chiefs a 7-4 lead.
The Knights had one more rally in the bottom of the inning when Dan Johnson led off with a solo home run and Damaso Espino followed with a walk, knocking Lehman out of the ball game. But right-hander Mike MacDougal then entered and recorded the final three outs, sealing the victory.
Syracuse and Charlotte will conclude their four-game series on Thursday night at 7:15. Southpaw John Lannan is scheduled to start for the Chiefs.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.