The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, used a season-best three home runs to take down the Durham Bulls, 5-1, Thursday night at Alliance Bank Stadium.
After Durham (12-23) took a 1-0 lead on an unearned score in the third, Syracuse tied the game in the bottom half thanks to designated hitter Jim Negrych's first home run as a Chief.
An inning later in the fourth, Syracuse (13-22) took a 4-1 edge on a Xavier Paul line drive three-run homer to right field. The Chiefs' first two batters of the frame were retired, but Brett Carroll walked and Carlos Rivero kept the fourth alive with a single to center. That set the scene for Paul's go-ahead shot -- his second of the season.
Following two scoreless innings, the Chiefs launched their third and final dinger in the form of Carlos Maldonado's second blast of the year.
While home runs from the sixth, seventh, and eighth-placed hitters lifted Syracuse offensively, starter Yunesky Maya gave the Chiefs their fourth strong start in a row.
The right-hander pitched seven innings, throwing 102 pitches, and didn't allow an earned run. Maya scattered four hits and struck out seven on the way to his second win of the season.
Pat Lehman came on in relief of Maya in the eighth and although the first three batters he faced reached base, the righty responded. With the tying run at the plate, Lehman fanned Bulls cleanup hitter Leslie Anderson as well as Stephen Vogt and then got Reid Brignac to ground out to end the Durham threat without a run.
Josh Wilkie pitched a scoreless ninth for the Chiefs, who took three out of four from the Bulls. In the series, Syracuse's starters allowed a grand total of six earned runs.
The Chiefs now stay at Alliance Bank Stadium to start a four-game set with the Rochester Red Wings that begins Friday at 7:00 PM. Lefty John Lannan will look to lead Syracuse to its third win in a row, while Rochester counters with Jeff Manship.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.