The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, beat the Toledo Mud Hens, 8-4, Thursday night in Syracuse. Reigning International League Pitcher of the Week Zach Duke allowed just two runs in eight-plus innings to earn his third straight win.
Syracuse (62-65) battered Toledo starter Duane Below in the bottom of the first inning. Eury Perez led off the frame with a single and came home to score on Corey Brown's triple to right-center field. Then, Jarrett Hoffpauir hit a sacrifice fly to left field to drive home Brown and give the Chiefs a 2-0 lead. The next batter, Carlos Rivero, teed off on a Below pitch and hit it over the wall in right-center for his tenth homer of the season. After one inning, the Chiefs led 3-0.
From there, the bats were silent until the bottom of the eighth inning. The Chiefs pounded out five hits in the frame capped by run-scoring singles from Zach Walters, Jesus Valdez, and Perez and a two-run error committed by Mud Hens left fielder Jerad Head. The five runs in the inning put Syracuse up 8-0.
Meanwhile, Duke was cruising as he added to his leading-leading win total. He needed just 89 pitches to get through eight scoreless innings on before running into a bit of trouble in the top of the ninth inning. Toledo (51-76) finally got to Duke in the last frame on a two-run home run from cleanup batter John Lindsey.
That homer chased Duke from the game, but the southpaw still turned in a sterling performance. He allowed just those two runs on nine hits en route to his 14th win of the year. In his last three starts, he's allowed just five runs in 23 innings.
The Mud Hens tacked on two runs against reliever Erik Davis to make the score 8-4, but the righty would stiffen to record the last three outs.
The Chiefs and Mud Hens wrap up their four-game set Friday night in Syracuse at 7:00. Yunesky Maya is scheduled to start for Syracuse. Toledo will counter with Drew Smyly. The game will be followed by a fireworks show.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.